NFL Draft analyst not holding back on Lawrence evaluation

NFL Draft analyst not holding back on Lawrence evaluation

Football

NFL Draft analyst not holding back on Lawrence evaluation

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Everyone knows how good of a quarterback Trevor Lawrence is, but one NFL Draft analyst stunned everyone earlier this week when he said the former Clemson star is one of the best prospects of all time.

ESPN Draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr., said Lawrence is one of the best prospects he has ever seen play quarterback, dating all the way back to when he first started evaluating NFL Draft prospects.

Kiper has been evaluating the NFL Draft since he first started back in 1979. In his 43 years, he has evaluated quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, John Elway, Jim Kelly and Andrew Luck.

He says when he turns on the tape and watches Lawrence, he sees a lot of the same things he saw in all of those talented quarterbacks. Elway and Kelly are already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Manning will be enshrined this coming August.

“There’s no negatives, there’s no knock on him. To me, when you look at all-time in my forty-three years of evaluating this stuff, John Elway had the highest grade ever for me. Andrew Luck was second. Peyton Manning was third and Trevor Lawrence will be fourth ahead of Jim Kelly, who is now fifth. So that’s the top five.”

Lawrence led Clemson to a sixth straight ACC Championship this past season, while throwing for 3,153 yards and 24 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He completed 69.2 percent of his 334 passes and averaged a Clemson record 315.3 yards per game through the air in 2020.

The Cartersville, Ga., native also rushed for 203 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Lawrence led the ACC in passing yards per game and completion percentage this past season.

Many considered Lawrence to probably be the top pick in the 2021 draft after he led the Tigers to the 2018 National Championship as a freshman.

Lawrence won ACC Player of the Year honors and was a First-Team All-American in 2020. He was just the third quarterback in Clemson history to earn First-Team All-American honors, joining Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson.

He led the Tigers to two national championship game appearances, while winning the 2019 National Championship Game. He was the first freshman quarterback in major college football to guide his team to a national title since 1985.

“You say, ‘Where’s the busts?’ I had Andre Ware, was one of my highest-rated quarterbacks. He was the first one that was a bust. After that, Ryan Leaf. So, we had some in there that disappointed, Tim Couch, but of the highest-rated ones, it was Elway, Luck, Manning and now Trevor.”

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. Boyd (11,904) and 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.

“You talk about a generational talent. As I mentioned, John Elway. You always knew he was going to be the number one pick,” Kiper said. “You always knew Andrew Luck was going to be the number one pick. Peyton Manning, now you have Trevor Lawrence.

“Lock him in (at number one). The Jacksonville Jaguars get their franchise quarterback. That is the way it fell. Jets are number two and can’t get Trevor Lawrence, obviously, with that spot. Trevor is a special entity and should be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL very early in his NFL career.”

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