The upcoming 2021 draft is headlined by probably the most hyped up quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has lost only one game in his collegiate career and has made it to back to back title games. Teams are, as they should be, salivating over the idea of drafting Lawrence to help turn their teams destinies around. However, one team in particular has been speculated as the favorite to land the prized QB from Clemson; the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Long plagued by mediocre quarterback play and draft busts at the position, it’s time the Jaguars found their guy. The Jags have spent two first round draft picks in the past ten years on quarterbacks (Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles). Eventually, both quarterbacks were off the team within four years of them being drafted.
Jacksonville then tried to experiment with Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jags gave Foles a four-year $88 million deal. Foles would go on to play in only four games for the Jags before being traded to the Chicago Bears for a 4th round pick.
Foles’ replacement? A Mississippi native by the name of Gardner Minshew II. Minshew was drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL draft out of Washington State.
Minshew put up NUMBERS in his collegiate career. In his final year at WSU, Minshew threw for 4779 yards and 38 touchdowns. He led the Cougars to an Alamo Bowl victory while managing to secure the PAC-12 record for single-season passing yards.
Early in the 2019 season, Nick Foles went down with a collarbone injury, and it was time for Minshew to show if his college success could be transferred to the NFL.
In 14 games last season, Minshew went on to throw for 3783 yards, 27 scores, and just 8 interceptions. What was considered a great rookie year from Gardner, he was poised to step into the full-time starting role for Jacksonville leading into year 2.
Unfortunately, the Jaguars went on to clean house during the offseason, and speculations that they would be “Tanking for Trevor” began to emerge. After a promising first year from the rookie Minshew, would the Jags seriously consider moving on from him so early in his development?
Here's why they shouldn't:
Gardner Minshew II has shown himself to be hardworking, a leader, and a straight up baller. After his week 1 win against the Colts, Minshew showed his ability to bring the locker room together and command leadership. The players (especially the receivers) have put their full trust in Gardner to lead the team into the future.
Minshew also has no problem putting up ridiculous stats. In week 1, Minshew went 19/20 with three scores, becoming the first quarterback ever to throw for three touchdowns while completing 95% of passes. In week 2, Minshew almost completed a 15 point comeback against the Titans, losing in heartbreaking fashion to a last second field goal.
Simply put, Minshew has the command and the talent to be the future leader of the Jaguars. Bringing in a new quarterback like Lawrence, regardless of his projections and illustrious college career, would only delay Jacksonville’s rebuild even more.
With all this being said, Lawrence would have to find another suitor. Who could that be?
Potential Landing Spots for Lawrence:
The Washington Football Team: In year two, Dwayne Haskins looks to be showing more of the same issues from his rookie season: inaccurate balls, hesitation in the pocket, and lack of awareness. Though a new coach and culture change in Washington could be good for Haskins going forward, the talented defense Rivera and Del Rio helped create will need a real QB on the other side of the ball eventually.
Indianapolis Colts: Philip Rivers is, to no one’s surprise, not in the future plans of the Colts organization. It’s hard to imagine Rivers staying past his one-year, $25 million deal, which puts the Colts in the market for a quarterback yet again. While their answer could come in free agency with the likes of Jameis Winston, the draft could provide the solution with Trevor Lawrence.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have been having QB woes for as long as I’ve been alive. Christian Ponder was a swing and miss, injury issues derailed both Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford, and Case Keenum was kicked out before being able to prove himself as “the guy”. Kirk Cousins did lead them to a playoff win last season, but his early season struggles in 2020 may lead the organization to believe that his contract extension was a mistake.
Chicago Bears: The Mitchell Trubisky Project looks to be coming to an end. So far this season, we have seen a Good Mitch/Bad Mitch act on the field. Although Nick Foles waits patiently on the bench for his turn in the pocket, neither QB seems to be the answer to Bears fans’ prayers. The long awaited quarterback savior to the Bears franchise might be biding his time in Death Valley.