The stand by is finished. Trevor Lawrence is finally the Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback, as the club selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.
The pick finished an process that started last December when the New York Jets’ Week 16 surprise of the Cleveland Browns gave the top determination to Jacksonville.
“Pretty surreal,” Lawrence revealed to ESPN’s Marty Smith on the draft broadcast from Seneca, South Carolina, soon after being picked. “Obviously this has been the dream for the past few years. And like I’ve said, I didn’t even dream this as a kid, so [it’s] really special and just having all the people that I care about here watching, it’s really hard to explain.
“I was super nervous before and just am so excited to be a part of the Jacksonville community. … I’m super excited to be coming to Jacksonville and play for you guys and can’t wait to go to work.”
No doubt about it: There’s a huge ton of work to do. The Jaguars were 1-15 last season, have lost at least 10 games in nine of the last 10 seasons, and made the end of the season games only once since 2007. The offense has been one of the most exceedingly terrible in the NFL somewhat recently: They’ve positioned 30th or more awful in points scored, yards per game, red zone efficiency, third-down conversion percentage, completion percentage and passer rating over that 10-year stretch.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has no uncertainty Lawrence can deal with the pressing factor of turning the establishment around. Lawrence was the No. 1 enlist in the country, followed Deshaun Watson at Clemson and won a national title as a rookie. He’s likewise lost only four games as a beginning quarterback since he entered high school.
“This’ll be a very easy transition,” Swinney said. “He’s well prepared. What he’s stepping into, the expectations, all those things, that’s his normal and it has been for a long time. He’s built the right way. … He is the epitome of consistency and if you know anything about Urban Meyer he values consistency and toughness.”
Lawrence was 34-2 as a starter for the Tigers – the fifth-best winning percentage by a quarterback with at any rate 30 beginnings in FBS history. He never lost a customary season game and tossed for 10,098 yards and 90 scores with just 17 interceptions, and he ran for 231 yards and 18 touchdowns.
“I’m not expecting anyone to hand me anything,” Lawrence said. “I want to come in there and earn the respect and trust of my teammates and the right to lead the team.
“… My mindset always going in is I’m going to earn anything that I get.”
Owner Shad Khan recruited lead trainer Urban Meyer, who won public titles at Florida and Ohio State, in January to fix the wreck. The expectation is that the choice of Lawrence, alongside Meyer’s employing, will end the establishment’s delayed battles and finish with the Jaguars’ first Super Bowl appearance.
“You’ve got two great winners,” Swinney said. “Urban Meyer is a great winner and Trevor Lawrence is a great winner and I think that’s going to lead to great things.”
The Jaguars have been searching for an franchise quarterback since Mark Brunell drove the group to a couple of AFC Championship Games in the initial five years of the group’s presence. Brunell was Jacksonville’s essential starter through the 2002 season and still is the franchise’s leader in attempts, completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.
The Jaguars have drafted three previous quarterbacks in the first round: Byron Leftwich (seventh generally speaking in 2003), Blaine Gabbert (No. 10, 2011) and Blake Bortles (No. 3, 2014), the just one of those three to dominate a playoff game.