Mel Kiper Jr.: Trevor Lawrence Would Be Ranked Behind Joe Burrow, Ahead of Tua

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 13: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers talks with Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers after their 42-25 win over Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

At this time last year, Trevor Lawrence looked like one of the biggest can't-miss quarterback prospects in recent memory.  

One historic season and a head-to-head win over Lawrence later, and Joe Burrow is the superior NFL prospect, according to Mel Kiper Jr. The ESPN draft guru appeared on the Rich Eisen Show on Thursday, saying he would rank Burrow ahead of Lawrence if the Clemson quarterback were eligible for the 2020 draft. 

Kiper specifically cited Burrow's win over Lawrence in the 2020 National Championship Game but also made sure to note it was more about the reigning Heisman winner's brilliance than any knock on Lawrence. 

"It's impossible, Rich, to overlook his greatness this year. Look at the competition he faced. And think about this: The pressure he was under, to get the Heisman Trophy and then have to go out and, all eyes on you, expectations through the roof. This was championship or bust for LSU. ... To go out and struggle early—and remember, Clemson looked like they had the answers ... then you get into the second quarter, and from that point on, it was lights out.

"He adjusts, he adapts, he changes. Brady was great to have there as well with him, and they had a lot of talent. But to have no games, zero games, where he had anything that would make you think that there's a chance he may not be as good as we think he is, is why Joe Burrow would be No. 1. I think in any draft. ... I haven't heard anybody that I respect say, 'Burrow, pump the brakes. Pump the brakes. He's not that good.'"

Kiper said Lawrence would rank second on his quarterback board, putting him ahead of Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa.

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Lawrence had a solid sophomore season, throwing for 3,665 yards and 36 touchdowns against eight interceptions, but he disappointed some who expected Heisman-worthy performances. He struggled mightily against LSU, completing only 18 of his 37 attempts for 234 yards and failing to throw a touchdown.

Nevertheless, Lawrence is the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft.