SANTA CLARA – The Jacksonville Jaguars have literally dropped the ball when it comes to developing quarterback Trevor Lawrence through nine games, but on the man who picked two picks after 49 in the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL Draft Quite a head start.
Trey Lance was already behind Lawrence as a prospect, given that the No. 3 pick came from North Dakota State and played only 19 career games with 17 starts at the FCS level. Lawrence played in 40 games with 36 starts at Clemson, a perennial Division I force that attracts top talent to the nation.
Lance was a spectator in the 31–10 win over the Los Angeles Rams as Jimmy Garoppolo took every picture. Lawrence is baptized by fire. It’s hard to watch sometimes, but you could argue that Lawrence is getting more than Lance in terms of becoming an upper-tier NFL quarterback.
Lawrence (6-foot-6, 213 pounds) was generally considered the best quarterback talent since Stanford’s Andrew Luck in 2012. Once Jacksonville finished with the NFL’s No. 1 pick, Lawrence’s destination was a foregone conclusion. When the 49ers moved from No. 12 to No. 3, they were looking elsewhere.
“You could put a lot of money where you were going,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday. “So we didn’t spend much time on it.”
Instead, the 49ers were left with either Lance, Ohio State’s Justin Fields or Alabama’s Mack Jones as future quarterbacks, after Lawrence was expected to be No. 1 and BYU’s Zach Wilson No. 2 for the New York Jets. Was.
The 49ers took on Lance, and the plan was to get his feet wet while Jimmy Garoppolo remained the starter for the expected playoff run.
Jacksonville, free of such lofty goals and a new coach at Urban Mayor, could have thrown Lawrence off the high dive and waited until he learned to swim.
“Trevor knows how to play good football,” said former 49ers quarterback Steve Young on his weekly appearance on KNBR. “It’s just that I suspect that with their lack of knowledge of what’s coming, each week is an incremental advantage in what you know about the league and how to do it. That and the fact It’s that you’re not getting much help. They got a ton of help at Clemson. Then you go to Jacksonville and all of a sudden you don’t get any help. Nobody grows without help. Nobody.”
Lawrence has completed 58 percent of his passes (192 of 331) for 1,991 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Jaguars are 2-7 and Lawrence has played all but five snaps. The good news is that seven of these interceptions came in the first three games and his total of 16 sacks is really low for a 2021 NFL starter.
bad news? Drop passes have been a weekly problem – 18 in all – and Lawrence-led offense averaged 16.6 points per game, just ahead of the Houston Texans.
“It slows down a quarterback’s development,” Meyer said of the drops.
Last week was a sign of progress when Jacksonville fell 17-0 in the first quarter to Indianapolis, then closed within 23-17 and the ball was on the Colts’ 46 with just over a minute left. Lawrence, however, lost to a fumble during the dismissal and the Jaguars lost the game.
First round QB snap counts:
1) Mac Jones, NE, 638
2) Trevor Lawrence, Jacques, 588
3) Justin Fields, Chi, 470
4) Zach Wilson, NYJ, 327
5) Trey Lance, 49ers, 111
— Jerry McDonald (@jerrymcd) November 18, 2021
“I was very disappointed with how it ended,” Lawrence told reporters in Jacksonville. “I know I will find more opportunities like this in my career and make the most of them.”
Lawrence is benefiting from the kind of experience that Lance won’t have in 2021 unless Garoppolo is injured or the 49ers are out of the race for the playoffs.
“He has been thrown into a lot of situations and you can see he is getting better and better with his team,” Shanahan said.
Lance, on the other hand, made just one start against Arizona when Garoppolo was injured. With the 49ers losing 17-10, Lance stepped in mostly hoping he could build something up. Lance ran 16 times for 89 yards, ending with a minor knee injury that rendered him inactive for one game and still an issue for another when Shanahan didn’t feel he was healthy enough to play.
In seven out of nine games, Shanahan has designed packages to use Lance that plays to his skill set, although he rarely uses any of them. Of the five quarterbacks taken in the first round, Lance’s 111 snaps are the shortest by a considerable margin and the 49ers, looking at the long-range plan, are fine with it.
Yet it’s undeniable that every week Lawrence is dwarfing what Lance is learning during meetings and drills. There are subtleties and nuances when it comes to working in a pocket – even when you’re as big as Lawrence and Mobile.
“In the NFL you can only go forward a yard or two and you’re going to be in trouble,” Lawrence said. “You look at someone like Tom Brady, he can move six inches in each direction in the pocket and buy himself a few extra seconds. He and Aaron Rodgers and the guys who have been playing for a long time, they do a good job.” And it’s through experience, playing, getting a feel for it and relying on it. I’ve gotten better, but there’s still work to do.”
49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner is looking forward to taking a closer look.
“Obviously, his talent jumps off the tape,” Warner said. “You can see why he was the No. 1 pick. They say he’s 6-5, 6-6 but he walks like a little guy. He’s not easy to get off. He’s quick enough but has a talent for the hand.” They want him to be in a position to make the decisive throw and take it quickly.
Lawrence will continue to develop on the field at the highest level on game day.
On the other hand, Lance is waiting for his turn.