Former NFL quarterback, now NFL Draft analyst for NBC Sports, Chris Simms expects Trevor Lawrence to be the first player taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in next month’s NFL Draft. However, he still does not believe the former Clemson star is the best quarterback in the 2021 Draft Class.
As a guest on Tuesday’s Good Morning Football show on the NFL Network, Simms was sticking by his original statement a few weeks back when he said BYU’s Zach Wilson is the better quarterback.
“I think Urban Meyer and his offense is a little more of a college offense and all of that. Hey, Trevor Lawrence certainly fits that,” Simms said. “Yes, he has big-time talent and every other aspect.”
Simms believes the Jaguars are going after Lawrence, as opposed to Wilson, because the Clemson quarterback is a big deal in the South and he will help the Jags sell more tickets and will get the fan base more excited than Wilson would.
“He is from Georgia. That is right up the road from Jacksonville,” Simms said. “He of course went to South Carolina, Clemson there. He is a God-like figure, as far as football is concerned. He is going to sell tickets. He is going to be everything they want.
“My big thing is, go with Zach Wilson. If you really want me to go make that sell or pitch, I would go, ‘Zach Wilson can run any offense. He is ready right now and I think he has less questions about his game than a Trevor Lawrence.’ That is where I would really sell you.”
Simms reiterated that he likes Lawrence, and he likes what he has seen from Lawrence on film, but when he went back and did more of a deep dive on his film, he learned a few things that surprised him.
“I am a casual college football watcher on Saturdays,” he said. “But the thing that jumped out to me more than anything, and number one, is everybody talks about the talent level and everyone wants to bring that up. BYU is not as good. Well, Damn! Josh Allen, let’s not draft him. And Big Ben Roethlisberger, let’s forget about him. Joe Flacco, Phil Simms and Terry Bradshaw … let’s just forget they ever lived. They went to small colleges. How can they compete? How can they do it, right?
“So, I don’t look at that being the difference. You are throwing into a tight window. It is a tight window know matter what level you are on. Yes, there are going to be adjustments. I would also argue, with Trevor Lawrence, he got to go on the field and go, ‘Oh, I am on the best team on the field’ in every game he got to play in, especially in the ACC. I mean, come on, the ACC is nothing special. So, he had that luxury.”
Simms also indicated that Lawrence benefitted from having great players around like Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross.
“‘Oh wait, I am a little off today. Well, don’t worry, Etienne will run around the corner for forty yards. Oh, I will throw a screen pass to this guy for another 20 yards,’” Simms said. “So, he had that benefit, too. Let’s not forget about that aspect as well.
“I like Trevor Lawrence. But the thing that jumped out to me more, there was more missed throws and inaccurate throws on the film than I thought I was going to see. Not to say that there are still not a lot of Damn good ones, but I think that to me was the difference.”
Simms said when he looks at Wilson, he just sees some special stuff and that he is to play in the NFL right now.
“I think his high-end talent is greater than Trevor Lawrence,” he said.
This is not the first time Simms has gone against the grain when it comes to quarterbacks in NFL Draft classes. He said in the 2018 Draft that Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson were better prospects than Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold.
In the 2017 draft, he said Patrick Mahomes was the best prospect as well.
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