When Trevor Lawrence performs for NFL teams on Friday, he will not look that different than he did in Clemson’s Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State.
Well, he will not look that different to the average Joe watching his Pro Day at Clemson’s Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. To the five or so teams that are coming just to watch the Heisman Trophy Runner-up, they will notice everything he does.
That is why Lawrence hired quarterback guru Jordan Palmer to get him ready for the NFL Draft and his NFL career. Palmer is known for helping college quarterbacks get ready for their NFL careers, including former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was trained by Palmer in 2017.
“Regardless of the success these guys had in college, and obviously, Trevor had as much success as anybody had before him,” Palmer said on the NFL Network on Tuesday. “But I have worked with guys in the past that have had similar careers. Joe Burrow last year, Deshaun Watson from (Clemson) a few years ago. There is still a lot of newness. Going from amateur to pro. Going from student-athlete to professional athlete.”
Lawrence concluded his Clemson career with a 34-2 (.944) record as a starter, the third-best winning percentage by a starting quarterback with at least 30 career starts since Division I split in 1978, trailing only Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949), according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The quarterback also became the third Clemson player ever to throw for 10,000 passing yards in a career. Tajh Boyd (11,904) and Deshaun Watson (10,163) presently rank No. 1 and No. 2 in career passing yards in school history, while Lawrence’s 10,098 yards ranks third.
And though all those numbers are good, those are not the things, necessarily, coaches and general managers are looking for in the NFL. They want to see how Lawrence handles different coverages, looks on the defensive line, calling protections, footwork, all of those things and more. Even something as simple as huddling and calling plays.
“These are things a lot of fans with the casual eye take for granted. If it is new, it is new,” Palmer said. “Sometimes, when we look at somebody, we look at how smart they are. I look at what they have been exposed to.
“None of it is an indictment on Clemson because it is arguably the best program in the country. But there is still a lot of newness, so we dive into footwork, understanding all these protections and fronts and then some of the play action and all of that stuff. When you are in gun a lot, you have not done it. Now is the perfect time to develop it.”
With Lawrence, the number one thing Palmer wants to do is make the 6-foot-6, 220-pound quarterback more efficient with his movements. Right now, he says Lawrence’s body type is that of a No. 2 (shooting) guard in the NBA.
“He is long. Broad shoulders and long arms. I don’t know what he will measure at, but he is 6-6. So, with him, it is not so much staying compact. It is being efficient,” Palmer said. “The longer you are, the easier it is to have inefficient movement and that goes for anybody. The shorter you are, the easier it is to deal with those inefficient movements. So, being able to take a step back, and we are not in a hurry here. Let’s so slow things down, which I do with every guy every year.”
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