College football prodigy and the next big thing, Trevor Lawrence is going to the New York Jets. Unless the Jets somehow find a miracle to win two games, they are picking first overall and Lawrence is a pick not even the worst general manager could screw up.
Lawrence, the Clemson standout, has all the makings of an elite quarterback. He can throw deeply and accurately, can run, and has top-tier size and athleticism.
Players like Lawrence are what both college football fans and sportsbooks look for. He’s also what suffering franchises like the New York Jets need.
But can the Jets actually build a legitimate team around Lawrence?
Jets’ front office will need to support Trevor Lawrence fast
Without a doubt, the Jets will take Lawrence with their first overall pick. He’ll be their first top pick since Keyshawn Johnson back in 1996. The Jets, to their credit, haven’t done a bad job at using their first-round picks.
New York drafted a slew of Pro Bowlers like Jamal Adams (2017), Nick Mangold (2006), and Darrelle Revis (2007). But Lawrence will be the first true star they would take as Sam Darnold is looking like a bust.
Lawrence could transform the Jets’ franchise and at the least, make them a lot better than what they are now. Of course, a lot of it is dependent on how fast the Jets front office can build a competent roster around him.
Look at the Cleveland Browns. They won one game in two seasons before taking Baker Mayfield first overall. While he hasn’t exactly blown everyone away, he’s helped turn the franchise around thanks to management acquiring top-end talent around him.
General manager Joe Douglas has his work cut out for him as the Jets need help everywhere. But he’ll need to fortify the line and acquire better skill players to bring out Lawrence’s potential.
If the Jets fail to build the right pieces around Lawrence, he could end up like Andrew Luck of the Colts. Luck carried the Colts and it cost him his body. By the time the team assembled a worthy roster, he retired due to all the injuries.
The speed in which Douglas moves can be the difference between Mayfield and Luck. For Lawrence’s and the franchise’s sake, it better be the former.
Lawrence can emerge from the Jets’ quarterback graveyard
If the Jets fail to build around Lawrence, he could be just another tombstone in their quarterback graveyard.
The Jets have yet to return to the Super Bowl in half a century because they’ve lacked an elite quarterback. Vinny Testaverde, the NFL’s all-time leader in losses for a starting quarterback, having the best win percentage for the franchise speaks for itself.
It’s a combination of many things for the Jets. For one, they’ve had a slew of average quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Chad Pennington and Testaverde that they didn’t bother drafting a potential star QB.
And two, they have missed their chance at drafting a star QB either by not trading up in the draft or just gaining a high pick when there are no star QB’s available.
Sam Darnold was supposed to be the guy. But following several injuries including mononucleosis, the USC product has regressed and looks nothing more than a backup.
With Lawrence, the Jets are winning the lottery. It’s a no-brainer. He is more athletic and mobile than Darnold, more powerful than Pennington, and is the complete package.
“Jets-Dolphin game” by Ed Yourdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Lawrence turning the Jets around is already worthy of legend
With Lawrence, the Jets may quickly improve to winning six to seven games if their roster stayed put. If they build more around him including trading draft capital to acquire a disgruntled skill player or a blue chip prospect, they may just make the playoffs.
Generational talent like Lawrence can improve a football team almost immediately.
Mayfield led the Browns to a 7-8-1 record after going 0-16 the year prior. The Colts were dead last in the NFL with a 2-14 record before Luck took them to 11-5 despite a negative point differential. And Luck’s draft mate, Robert Griffin III doubled the Redskins’ win total.
Lawrence will slot into a Jets team with a thin roster, but a few changes will put them in the mix in the unpredictable AFC. The Bills and Dolphins have found their quarterbacks, the Patriots are floundering, and the Jets could be somewhere in the middle.
Turning the Jets around would already warrant Lawrence praise. But in the long run, if he can stay healthy and turn the Jets into a legitimate contender, he will be legendary. Here’s hoping.