AFC Coach: Joe Burrow Taken over Trevor Lawrence '100 Times out of 100' in Draft

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2021

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence warms up before the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Ohio State Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is widely considered by most talent evaluators to be the clear-cut top prospect in the 2021 NFL draft. But one NFL coach doesn't believe he measures up to the No. 1 overall pick from 2020.

NFL.com's Tom Pelissero spoke to multiple NFL coaches and had them break down the deep, talented 2021 quarterback class. An anonymous AFC quarterbacks coach said of Lawrence, per Pelissero:

"If you didn't take him and you're Jacksonville, and it turned out that he was a perennial Pro Bowler, then you'll never live it down. They have to take him. I think the intangibles are there. He can throw the ball. But he does not have unique, rare playmaking ability. If I'm comparing last year to this year, Joe Burrow is picked over Trevor Lawrence 100 times out of 100."

Lawrence will almost certainly go first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars this year.

An NFC coordinator also expressed doubts about Lawrence, saying: "[He] is a really good player. I don't know if he's a generational talent like people are saying."

There is no denying what Lawrence accomplished at Clemson, as he led the Tigers to three College Football Playoff appearances in three seasons, including two trips to the national championship game and one national title.

He never won the Heisman Trophy, but he completed 66.6 percent of his passes for 10,098 yards, 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, while also rushing for 943 yards and 18 scores.

Meanwhile, Burrow had a season for the ages at LSU in 2019, as he won the Heisman thanks to his 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns and six interceptions on a ridiculous 76.3 percent passing.

Burrow led LSU to an undefeated record, and he outdueled Lawrence and Clemson in the national championship game.

All of that led to Burrow's being the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft by the Bengals, and although a torn ACL cut his rookie season short after 10 games, early returns were good.

He went 2-7-1 as a starter, but he completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions and also rushed for three scores, which had him squarely in the Rookie of the Year conversation before he got injured.

The Bengals QB casts a big shadow, but one AFC scout believes Lawrence has the makeup needed to succeed, telling Pelissero:

"To his credit, he's almost too good to be true of a kid. There are not a lot of adults, in our league or any walk of life, that can handle that spotlight that kid's been under. And he's kind of embraced it. This guy's been told how great he is. This guy's had those expectations coming in, which was a different kind of pressure, and he lived up to it."

If he indeed goes No. 1, Lawrence will have an uphill climb while playing for a Jags team that went 1-15 last season and needs an infusion of talent on both sides of the ball.

Both Lawrence and Burrow have bright futures, and the fact that they are both going to be in the AFC means they could be battling it out for years to come.