Trevor Lawrence was arguably the most talented quarterback to enter the NFL since Peyton Manning. The Clemson product was earmarked as the No. 1 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft for three full collegiate seasons before the Jacksonville Jaguars made it a reality back in April.
Lawrence was selected to be the face of a new day for the Jaguars. They would be led by a legendary college coach who had decided to finally make the leap to the NFL. Urban Meyer was an offensive guru who would surely know how to get the best from Lawrence and the long-slumbering Jacksonville offense. Yes, things were looking up in Duval County.
Then reality hit hard, and fast.
Draft day was the high point of Lawrence's professional life and it's been all downhill since. The saga of Meyer's incompetence, disgrace, public downfall and eventual firing has distracted from what has been one of the most disappointing rookie seasons in NFL history. There is no doubt Lawrence is immensely talented, but he's been brutal on the field so far.
Through the first 14 games of his career, Lawrence's Jaguars are 2-12. His numbers are astonishingly bad. He's completing 58.1 percent of his passes for 2,945 yards, with nine touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He's averaging a woeful 5.8 yards per attempt, and his passer rating (69.3) and QBR (31.7) are both brutally bad. After Sunday's loss to the lowly Houston Texans, Lawrence has only one touchdown pass in the last seven games.
Among qualified passers, the rookie currently ranks 30th in completion percentage, 31st in yards per attempt, 28th in QBR and 31st in passer rating. It's been a horrific season for the man long-anointed the NFL's next great quarterback.
Here's the thing: nobody believes this is the best Lawrence can do. He walked into one of the worst situations the NFL has seen in decades. The Jaguars are a mess top to bottom and Meyer was just another in a long line of problems. But Lawrence's season illustrates how much a quarterback's circumstances dictate how he performs. No one can win on their own in the NFL.
The New England Patriots have a rookie quarterback, are 9-5, and sit atop the AFC East. I mean, does anyone really believe Mac Jones is better than Lawrence? Of course not. Jones was just lucky enough to wind up on the Patriots. He fit seamlessly into the Belichick-ian machine and got it rolling. He fits exactly what New England needs and has a phenomenal defense to back him up. Lawrence, on the other hand, has been fed to the wolves.
The Jaguars can salvage this. Lawrence is too damn good to be this bad. Jacksonville needs to hit the reset button this offseason, bring in an actual head coach, with an actual plan, who can develop the team's prized possession. If that happens, this season will seem like a distant memory in short order.
Trevor Lawrence entered the league preceded by and unfair level of hype. An uber-talent who had been a winner at every level. Great things were expected as soon as he hit an NFL field. It's been one catastrophe after another ever since.
The Jaguars need to help the kid turn things around this offseason or he'll be nothing but a cautionary tale.