Welcome to the first overall pick in our 2021 SB Nation writers’ mock draft. It’s not even remotely a surprise. Big Cat Country, on behalf of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has selected former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
This pick might be an easier one to make than last year’s No. 1 overall selection in Joe Burrow, now with the Cincinnati Bengals. Trevor Lawrence has been perceived as an eventual top draft pick since his years at the high school level. He is a generational talent with all of the tools, including his arm talent, athleticism, size, and ability to read a defense, and he has the winning pedigree to impress any and all observers.
It’s kind of fun to look back at what was being said about Lawrence around this time last year. Dan Kadar, SB Nation’s former draft guru at Mocking the Draft, had Lawrence penciled in as the first overall pick in his way-too-early 2021 mock draft last May. From Kadar:
If the Jaguars end up with the first pick, chances are the Gardner Minshew experiment didn’t work, head coach Doug Marrone got fired, and general manager Dave Caldwell probably did too.
And that’s pretty much precisely the position the Jaguars find themselves in now. The first overall pick brings the team that franchise quarterback it’s been missing since — well, forever.
Lawrence began his collegiate career with the Tigers as one would expect, winning a National Championship as a freshman. He would go on to lead Clemson to the playoffs two more times, however, would make “only” one more appearance in the National Championship during his sophomore season. Lawrence wrapped his college career with a 69.2% completion rate, 3,153 yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions.
The Jaguars have been in search of a true franchise quarterback since its inception. The pick isn’t even much of a secret anymore, though it really never was. Recently, head coach Urban Meyer spoke candidly in an interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King, indicating that was the direction the franchise was heading, selecting Lawrence.
“I’ll leave that up to the owner when we make that decision official. But I’m certainly not stepping out of line that that’s certainly the direction we’re headed,” said Meyer.
This came months after owner Shad Khan himself plainly indicated that the team would be selecting - or at least in position to select -, a quarterback with its first pick, before either Meyer or general manager Trent Baalke were ultimately hired and retained, respectively.
“What’s evaded the history of the Jags, really, has been a franchise quarterback,” Khan said in January. “And I think what’s unique, certainly, is that we have the ability now to make a choice and it’s going to define the franchise moving forward.”
Now, the Jaguars will have that opportunity. They’ll likely spend the allotted 10 minutes to make the pick as is seemingly now a tradition for the start of the NFL Draft these days, but don’t get it twisted, the card is already written. As it should be.
Top prospects remaining:
- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU