2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report


Trevor Lawrence

November 12, 2020 1:00 PM EST


Trevor Lawrence Scouting Report picture

School: Clemson

Height: 6'6"

Weight: 220

Eligibility: JR

Uniform: #16

Position: QB


Evaluated by: Austin Smith
Smith.Austinj14@gmail.com
Twitter: NFLDraftAustin
November 12, 2020

Prospect Overview


2018: 15 G, 259-397 (65.2%), 3,280 yards, 30/4 (TD/INT), 60 rush, 177 yards, 1 TD
2019: 15 G, 268-407 (65.8%), 3,665 yards, 36/8 (TD/INT), 103 rush, 563 yards, 9 TD

Lawrence has played as advertised since being one of the top recruits in the nation coming out of Cartersville, Georgia. College football gets a new infusion of young quarterbacks with outstanding physical gifts every year, but few ever live up to the expectations, and it's even more rare that they have the kind of impact Lawrence did right away.


Trevor Lawrence Scouting Report image 1

To beat out a talented upperclassman like Kelly Bryant was impressive in its own right, but to also put up a dominant effort in the National Championship against Nick Saban, Tua Tagovailoa, and the reigning champs was incredible. The poise and leadership he has shown since day one is remarkable, and those qualities have only grown more prominent with time.

With Lawrence under center, Clemson has been to back-to-back National Championship games with a chance to make it three-straight years in 2020. The six-foot, six-inch, 220-pound signal-caller has improved each year and also displays an ability to make plays with his feet and toughness in addition to having one of the top arms college football has ever seen.

We've seen Lawrence play the game at a high-level, throwing the football and moving the offense in general. He's polished as well as productive, and when you combine those with the rare physical gifts displays, it makes for a generational prospect.

Positives

A year ago, Joe Burrow won me over with his ability to diagnose defenses pre-snap and make sound decisions on time. As impressive as he was, Lawrence is even better in that regard. The Tigers run a lot of quick-strike plays (three-step drops, RPO's) that require he make his decision pre-snap or shortly thereafter. To consistently have success on those plays, diagnosing fronts and coverage, as well as blitzes and disguises, has to be spot on. He identifies his read players accurately and understands the pre-snap movement well.


Trevor Lawrence Scouting Report image 2

Lawrence does a terrific job in that regard. We rarely see him make a poor decision, and even when teams time their disguises for a coverage or blitz well, he quickly adjusts and knows where to go with the football. His light feet and core strength make for great footwork and balance to help him keep a strong platform in his drops. It allows Lawrence to pull the trigger on time when necessary and quickly when the play design reads.

Lawrence can occasionally get a bit of a wind up in his throwing motion, but the velocity that comes with it has kept it from being an issue at the collegiate level, although he may need to ditch that in the NFL. He also has a good feel in the pocket, as we see him step up into open space when available or quickly escape to extend plays on the move. His feet also stay active when in the pocket. Once again, his balance is impeccable in this area, and he routinely squares his shoulders downfield to make impressive throws on the move. Early in 2019, he would occasionally drop his eyes when he felt pressure, but he also had some unproven faces up front.

He displays really good timing at Clemson, thanks to his knowledge of coverages and the Tigers' offensive scheme. Lawrence also anticipates the timing on his deeper crossing routes well, which is also where he shows the best touch on his passes. There is no questioning his arm strength, as he routinely drives the ball to the sidelines and down the field. We also rarely see him hesitate to pull the trigger. Lawrence is decisive with his decisions and not afraid to let it rip.

One quality that also jumps out is how he ties his knowledge of coverages to his ball-placement. Seeing him make back-shoulder throws as a true freshman was pretty impressive. Clemson doesn't ask him to read the full field a lot, but there are examples of him playing with accurate timing in this area as well. Lawrence also continuously impresses with his athleticism. He also shows toughness in that regard, although he will need to limit that in the NFL.

Areas for Improvement

One of the areas he really needs to show improvement is on his deep ball. He has more than enough arm strength to do the job, but Lawrence can be a little too confident in his arm. Often, he tries to drive the ball deep as opposed to putting air on it and letting the receiver run under the throw. He will need to develop that deep ball touch because it's just not realistic to think that he can regularly hit guys with bullets when they've already gotten behind the defense.

Loft on the pass, as well as the depth that his arm is capable of, are essential, and ball-placement matters too. If he can do a better job of showing this touch and letting the receiver make the play, the result will be a better deep ball accuracy. On that note, I consider his accuracy a plus, but he can go through stretches of being a little off. I'm not saying he flat out misses open throws but can make routine completions more difficult than they have to be.

Once again, I think it's because he tries to put too much heat on it instead of leading the player more and taking some velocity off the throw. As is said above, he does a better job of this on crossing routes, and I'd like to see him implement it in other areas. That's not always possible, but he's had some big receivers that have been able to occasionally bail him out on off-target throws in the past. Another issue that can cause him to be slightly off target is weight transfer during the throw.

Not only can he sporadically throw off his back foot, but he can leave his weight back through the throw. Even when not throwing with everything, the weight has to finish on the front foot. When it doesn't, his accuracy suffers. Finally, it doesn't happen much, but he can get a bit of a wind up every once in a while. Yes, it produces more velocity, but in the NFL, a wind up means a head start for the defender.


Trevor Lawrence Scouting Report image 3

Draft Stock

Lawrence is the highest-graded quarterback I've ever evaluated, surpassing Andrew Luck. He has physical gifts that can match nearly any top-ranked quarterback on that list and the production to do the same, which is a rare combination. People have pegged him for a lock to go number one overall in the 2021 draft since he became the starter his freshman year, and he's done nothing to dissuade that. In fact, he's only gotten better each year, and the numbers back that up.

Not only does he possess everything scouts look for in a quarterback physically, but his character and leadership follow suit. This past year has presented plenty of opportunities for individuals to take a stance on a variety of topics. Some have not handled it well, while others have had their hearts in the right place while taking action in the wrong way. Lawrence has been mature and positive in everything he's done, which only raises his stock when it comes to someone who is going to be the face of a franchise.

His teammates and coaches rave about his work ethic and his knowledge of the game. He is a natural leader in a program that has seen plenty of them over the last several years. Overall, Lawrence is the top player in this class, and I believe he will be the top pick regardless of who is picking first overall. If the team that ends up picking first doesn't need a quarterback, I'd expect them to move this pick to a team that does.


Trevor Lawrence Scouting Report image 4

Player Comparison

Sometimes you get prospects that are just in a league of their own. I'm not going to say that Lawrence is going to step into the NFL immediately have the same level of success that he did at Clemson, but I do think he is the kind of rare prospect that will instantly make those around him better.

Still, the closest players I can think of like Ryan Tannehill, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert, I would have hoped to have been as polished as Lawrence is at this current time. In fact, I can't, with all honesty, say that they have reached those expectations in the NFL either. I also wouldn't put their football IQ or leadership in the same category as Lawrence's either. That's not a knock on any of those three, who are all having exceptional 2020 seasons in the NFL. It's a testament to the kind of player I expect Lawrence to be in the NFL someday.

Games Evaluated

  • vs. Alabama (1-7-19)
  • at Syracuse (9-14-19)
  • at North Carolina (9-28-19)
  • vs. Florida State (10-12-19)
  • vs. Virginia (12-7-19)
  • vs. Ohio State (12-28-19)
  • vs. LSU (1-13-20)

Notes from Film

  • Confidence to make timing throws is impressive. Diagnoses defenses pre-snap, then determines where he has the advantage. Makes throws based on those pre-snap decisions on three step drops, and throws to a spot. Seldom saw him throw to a receiver that was doubled in these situations which says volumes about his pre-snap IQ.
  • Timing is outstanding more often than not. He gets balls out when receivers should be separating in their route which gives his receivers best chance to make the catch.
  • Arm strength is very good. Drives throws downfield and to the sideline. Quick motion as well. Doesn't need to reach back to put something on throw, although he will occasionally.
  • Confidence is apparent in multiple facets of the game. True freshman making back-shoulder throws is rare and takes a lot of confidence in his arm, ball placement and receivers.
  • Consistently throws from a strong platform in pocket when he has time. Because of this, he is always ready to fire the football when his eyes see what he needs to see. Feet stay active and under him. In comparison, this is an area DeShaun Watson struggled with at Clemson.
  • As a freshman against Alabama, I did notice he was not one to stand in and deliver a throw with a defender bearing down on him. Threw off back foot in these situations.
  • Very good throwing on the move. Squares his shoulders. Shows good core strength to keep firm posture when making the throw. Has the ability to adjust his arm angle and still be accurate. Also, if there is a primary example of his arm strength, it shows up here. In the first half against Syracuse, he made a throw running perpendicular to the side line nearly 45 yards downfield that was impressive from an arm strength standpoint.
  • While I noticed that he is comfortable climbing the pocket, even when in tight quarters, he did occasionally lose faith when his offensive line struggled and started to drop his eyes in 2019.
  • As a runner, he is tough and not afraid to go after tough yards, which is a very underrated part of his game. There may be times he's not willing to step into a throw and take a shot, but when he can be the one delivering the blow, he doesn't hesitate.
  • I'd like to see him get a better understanding of what makes an accurate deep ball. He’s got the arm strength to drive the ball deep, but that is such a difficult task when it comes to being accurate. When his man has a step, I'd like to see him put more air and depth on his pass to allow the receiver to run under it. There is no need to try and be pinpoint accurate when your receiver has won deep. Good receivers track the ball and make you accurate just as long as you put it out front.
  • I think the coaching staff shared Lawrence' concerns with the pass protection early in 2019. They threw a lot more quick-passes and RPO's and I think that is why he is getting a high number of balls batted down at the line. At his stature, this shouldn't be the case but I'm seeing a lot of defenders abandon their pass rush and get their hands in passing lanes.
  • Extremely impressed with how quickly he diagnoses and reacts. Got a cover-two look pre-snap early against Virginia. Had an RPO called. At the snap, play-side safety bolted into the box and he pulled it and fired to the perimeter with perfect timing and accuracy.
  • His athleticism is not to be underestimated. Against Ohio State, they ran man coverage with a single-high safety most of the night. Teams can't do that if the quarterback is an option to run. By the end of the game, Clemson had taken control because they started calling designed runs to Lawrence is scorched them. There was a ton of NFL talent and speed on that Buckeye defense and he made more than a handful of big plays with his feet.
  • As a runner, not only shows good vision to identify blocks and running lanes, but also has surprising balance that allows him to make subtle cuts to avoid hard contact and even occasionally make defenders miss.


Scouting Video Courtesy of ACCDigitalNetwork




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