In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Trevor Lawrence was shockingly personable about his football life. “I’m passionate about what I do, and it’s really important to me, but I don’t have this chip on my shoulder. I can’t manufacture that. I don’t want to” said Lawrence. Everyone and their grandma knows that this isn’t the stance most athletes take. It feels like every athlete in existence has talked about the proverbial chip on the shoulder. If anything, it’s probably the most cliche quote that can come from an athlete.
But in the article, there were a couple of quotes that rubbed me the wrong way. And they didn’t all come from Lawrence himself. Instead, it was he, his high school football coach, and his father whose words caused me to raise my eyebrow.
These quotes should (and I believe would normally) scare the hell out of any GM who was considering drafting a player no.1 overall. Especially if the player you’re looking at is a quarterback. The last thing that a team wants to hear from a player (or their camp) is that they could walk away from the sport at any time or that they aren’t committed to winning. And who would know Trevor Lawrence better than a former coach and his father? Even if they didn’t mean to, his dad and former coach essentially threw him under the bus.
I’m not saying Trevor Lawrence isn’t committed to football because Sports Illustrated quoted him saying he’s “passionate.” But his quote, combined with that of his coach and father, should make the Jaguars think twice about drafting him.
Trevor Lawrence’s Quote
I, for one, appreciate the openness of Trevor Lawrence. Too often, our athletes give us copy-and-paste answers and quotes that come across as disingenuous. But the fact that Trevor Lawrence openly stated he doesn’t consistently think about how he can be a better player is a bright red flag. In sports, stagnating as a player is what cuts your career short. And in a sport like the NFL, teams study your strengths and weaknesses and put together a game plan to nullify and beat you.
Players like Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees are famous for their preparation and drive to get better. During the summer, Patrick Mahomes said that he didn’t learn how to read defenses until mid-way through the 2019 season. Can you imagine if Mahomes decided to never learn NFL defenses because he didn’t think he needed to get better? Granted, he won the MVP in 2018 before he even comprehended NFL defenses, but that didn’t stop him from refining his craft. When teams started playing more zone schemes, which caused Mahomes problems, he practiced, got better at handling them, and is the best quarterback in the league
To sum it up, if you don’t continue to evolve as a player, the league will make you pay. RGIII was a dynamic player… until he wasn’t. Russell Wilson went from game-manager to one of the best in the business. Lamar Jackson, as dynamic as he is as an athlete, constantly works on his throwing because he knows he has to. Maybe Trevor Lawrence didn’t mean how it sounded, but how it DOES sound should scare the Jaguars.
The Other Quotes
During the draft process, teams not only interview the player but people close to the player. It’s like when a typical job asks you for references. Can you imagine if one of your references told the company you’re applying to that you aren’t committed to doing the best job you can? Or that you could leave the business at any time and be fine with it? What’s the likelihood that you get the job?
I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but it needs to be said. To be a great quarterback, you have to dedicate your life to the business. Tom Brady consistently took pay cuts to put a Super Bowl-caliber team around him. Russell Wilson spends a million dollars a year on his body. Drew Brees would stay at the Saints facility hours after practice, doing mental reps, as noted by his former teammate Emmanuel Sanders.
Once again, it’s possible that they didn’t mean how their quotes came out. But given how they DO sound, these are some damning quotes against Trevor Lawrence.
Let’s Get Real
If I haven’t been clear to this point, let me be crystal-clear. If it’s true that Trevor Lawrence isn’t committed to winning at all cost, let alone getting better as a player, the Jaguars shouldn’t draft him. When you select a player no.1 overall, you do so because you think they’re a franchise-changing player. Given these quotes, what about Trevor Lawrence makes him sound franchise-changing? What would the Jaguars really gain by drafting him?
Warren Sharp brought up a good point regarding these quotes.
seeing so many people applauding the “refreshing take” from Trevor Lawrence in the SI piece— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 14, 2021
wonder how things would look if these quotes came from Justin Fields and his camp pic.twitter.com/EYLi3u3hWn
On March 31st, ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky broached the idea that Justin fields didn’t have a good work ethic on The Pat McAfee Show. Following his comments, NFL Twitter exploded. Many didn’t agree with his take, whereas others thought it justified why his draft-stock has fallen. Given the history of racial bias against black NFL quarterbacks, which still exists, imagine the outrage if these quotes came from Justin Field and his camp. NFL writers would talk about him being a late-first to mid-round pick.
I’d like to give Trevor Lawrence the benefit of the doubt in regards to these quotes, but it’s hard to ignore how they sound. I’m sure the Jaguars will still draft him no matter what, but if I were the GM, I’d have to think hard about what I read.