Sam Crnic looks at Trevor Lawrence‘s 2019 film to project his outlook for the remainder of the 2020 season and the 2021 NFL draft.
Compared to the likes of John Elway, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence dazzled fans with success and excitement during his freshman year, only to continue doing so in 2019 and 2020. The most popular name surrounding the 2021 NFL draft, some view Lawrence as a “generational” talent.
Yet, how does one define generational?
Once this season wraps up, we will take a look back at Lawrence’s 2020 film. For now, let’s dive into his 2019 season and analyze how he established himself as the can’t-miss prospect we know him as today.
Trevor Lawrence’s 2019 season recap
Coming off a phenomenal freshman season championship run, Lawrence started his sophomore campaign with inconsistency. He started the season with five touchdowns and five interceptions through three games, but Lawrence stepped up his game as he progressed.
Leading the Football Bowl Subdivision in passer rating over the latter half of the regular season, Trevor led Clemson to an undefeated record, earning them the third spot in the College Football Playoff.
As Lawrence’s play picked up, the wins kept piling on. In the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, Trevor faced fellow 2021 quarterback prospect Justin Fields and Ohio State, putting up 259 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game, while rushing for 107 yards and a touchdown. Clemson won the game 29-23, putting themselves in a second consecutive championship.
In arguably the worst game of his collegiate career, Lawrence went 18-for-37 (48.6%) against LSU in the 2019 National Championship Game, recording just a touchdown in the run game.
Using Clemson’s All-22 film from 2019, we will dive into the many great aspects of Trevor’s game that launched him up to his current status, while also exploring a few concerns that became evident along the way. This is not a complete scouting report of Lawrence; I’ll be digging deeper into his 2020 film as the 2021 NFL draft approaches. Today, we will just be focusing on his 2019 sophomore season.
At the next level, Lawrence’s offensive line will most likely not be as strong as the one he has at Clemson. With that being said, Trevor has usually looked unhindered in the rare moments when he has been pressured, showing a great feel for maneuvering within the pocket and always maintaining poise. He should be ready for whatever amount of heat comes his way in the NFL.
Navigating his way through the double A-gap pressure, Lawrence keeps his cool and gives his man a great throw on the dig route.
Showing a double A-gap pressure pre-snap, one of the A-gap defenders drops back off the snap while the running back is forced to pick the other one up. Lawrence feels the RB’s leverage in pass protection and maneuvers his way to that side, protecting himself from a sack. While the RB eventually pancakes the defender, Lawrence puts himself out of harm’s way to keep his eyes downfield. When maneuvering through the pocket, he shuffles his feet so they are equally apart the entire time, while also squaring his hips and shoulders towards the eventual target.
Great job by Lawrence progressing through his reads and aligning his base all while shuffling his feet to avoid pressure. Lawrence shows a good feel for the defender’s positioning as he puts the ball low where the defender cannot contest it, hitting his man in the chest, but he drops it.
Sensing pressure from his blindside on this play, Lawrence seamlessly drifts away from it, buying himself enough time to find his man.
Before Chase Young was eventually drafted by the Washington Football Team, all QBs had to key on to where he was before every snap. In this case, he’s located on Trevor’s blindside. At the snap, Young seamlessly throws the left tackle out of the way, winning the corner with speed and physicality to pursue Lawrence.
Without even looking in Young’s direction, Trevor feels the edge pressure and quickly drifts to his right to buy himself more time. Waiting for an out-route to develop, this subtle drift to the right buys him all the time he needs. Right before Young gets to the Clemson QB, Lawrence darts the ball to the sideline, maintaining poise and stepping into the throw. Although the pass isn’t caught, Lawrence throws an accurate pass, again showing his ability to deliver under pressure.
Following the throw, watch how Lawrence takes a shot right in the chest. For a young QB, those hits can add up over time. For now, at least, these hits don’t seem to be fazing the star QB in the slightest.
Another double A-gap pressure with a dropping defender, Lawrence exhibits poise by once again maintaining proper mechanics despite an oncoming rusher.
Travis Etienne (No. 9) fails to adequately pick up the blitz here. As a result, Lawrence has to get rid of the ball quickly with an oncoming defender looking for a sack. Lawrence seems to be eyeing down an out route down the left sideline, as the WR’s defender has inside leverage. Feeling the pressure from his right, Lawrence slides left while keeping his eyes downfield. Quickly loading up and firing, Lawrence nails a pass to the WR’s chest before the rusher can even touch him.
As a QB, drifting too far out of the pocket is not a good thing. This can give the edge rusher an easy opportunity to pursue. In Lawrence’s case, he knows how to move around the pocket and avoid pressure in an effective way. Whenever there’s an incoming defender, Trevor doesn’t bail the pocket and start running. Rather, he takes methodical equally-distanced steps away from the defender, buying himself time while also maintaining a proper base and solid footwork to preserve his accuracy. He rarely allows the pressure to disrupt his progressions, keeping his eyes downfield at all times while using his peripheral vision to feel the pressure and adjust his positioning accordingly.
Trevor’s pocket presence is simply excellent.
One of the most valuable quarterback traits, Trevor Lawrence has the ability to read the leverage and positioning of defenders to make anticipatory throws, often releasing the ball before the receiver even makes his break.
Reading the defender’s leverage and dropping the ball into a spot where only his guy can get it, Lawrence showcases outstanding anticipation on this next play. This right here is the exact type of elite throw that makes Trevor such a special prospect. While this play may have looked routine on the broadcast, the All-22 angle emphasizes how tough it truly is.