Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence looks like generational talent again

Sometimes they think they know, and it turns out that they don’t know.

Think of all the can’t-miss quarterback prospects that missed, for any number of reasons: Wrong organization. Wrong coach. Wrong system. Wrong intangibles.

JaMarcus Russell … Jeff George … Ryan Leaf … and so many others. Greatness is never guaranteed. For any phenom. In any sport.

Trevor Lawrence survived the Urban Meyer Era as a rookie in Jacksonville last season, and don’t you worry, he is back looking very much like the kind of generational talent who inspires comparisons to John Elway and Andrew Luck.

Serby Says solicited the expertise of two of the best in the business, NFL Network’s analyst Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, as to why Trevormania has only just begun.

Jeremiah: “He has everything needed to be in the conversation to be the best player in the league within the next three years.”

Riddick: “He can be the top five, top three, top one passer in the league.”

The arrival of coach Doug Pederson, a former Brett Favre backup quarterback who made a Super Bowl MVP out of Nick Foles with the Eagles and will return Sunday to Philadelphia, was a godsend for Lawrence.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Charles Baus/Cal Sport Media/Sip

Riddick: “He’s just kind of got a real pleasant, like fatherly type voice way of talking to him. … We’ve all heard the story about how the backup makes the better coach than the superstar because the superstar has unrealistic expectations. He’s the living embodiment of that.

“With Trevor, last year [12 touchdowns, league-high 17 interceptions], he had no shot. None. Zero. Less than zero. If he was gonna be subjected to that kind of atmosphere for his entire career, he’d be one of the all-time busts in terms of what our expectations were.”

Jeremiah: “I don’t know there’s anybody better at making a quarterback comfortable, not just in one way, like comfortable in terms of how you design the offense, comfortable in how he gets ’em ready for the season, and then comfortable within the game. I feel like Doug just gets these guys going early in the game, he’s gonna bake in three easy layups for you — there’s gonna be a quick out, there’s gonna be a screen mixed in, and he’ll just kind of build from that as the game goes along. You get into a rhythm, you get confidence. … I think that’s kind of the former quarterback in him that understands that importance.

“Trevor’s so gifted, now you’re seeing the confidence that he didn’t have last year. It’s like a 180 from last year to this year.”

Lawrence (six TDs, one INT so far this season) opened up 2022 against the Commanders as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-worst quarterback under pressure, but he has since displayed why there is no box he does not or will not check.

The boxes, please:

Toughness: “I saw that last year, he got the stuffing kicked out of him,” Jeremiah said.”You saw him in college, when there were big plays to be made, he wasn’t afraid to absorb some contact. It’s nice to not have to show off that part of his game on a weekly basis like he did last year.”

“On a scale of 1-10, I’ll say a 10.”

Trevor Lawrence throws the ball against the Chargers.
Getty Images

Mental toughness: “From all accounts from what I’ve heard,” Riddick said, “he was the adult in the organization last year. After the year was over and talking to people about how the year went and how dysfunctional it was for them, that he never flinched, he never blinked.”

Accuracy: “Excellent,” Jeremiah said.

“That’s something that will continue to improve,” Riddick said. “I have no issues with him being able to make the throws that he needs to make and make ’em consistently, in terms of he gives his receivers their best chance to make the catch.”

Leadership: “It’s off the charts,” Riddick said. “He’s mature well beyond his years, and he came off as being as selfless as it comes.”

“Off the charts,” Jeremiah said. “Everything that I was told from Clemson, from talking to those guys when he was coming out, they just raved about his leadership. And then, the ability to be dialed in and focused on a daily basis.”

Pocket presence: “He’s poised and comfortable,” Jeremiah said.

“That’s something that’s continually going to be developed, and understand that that clock in your head is gonna have to be much faster than it was at Clemson,” Riddick basis.

Arm strength: “Plenty,” Jeremiah said.

Field vision: “Evolving,” Jeremiah said. “I think you’re seeing that improve.”

“That’s again something that’s gonna continue to be a work in progress,” Riddick said, “and will develop, because No. 1’s not gonna always be there, so getting to [option] 2 to 3 to maybe even sometimes 4 is gonna be something that will be a continual work in progress, no quarterback coming in the NFL’s gonna have it mastered.”

Decision-making: “He’s in a new system now, so it’s kind of unfair to really judge him on decision-making,” Riddick said. “He’s at the infantile state in terms of trying to master this one.”

Mobility: “Outstanding,” Jeremiah said. “But looking to throw with his mobility, not looking to run with it.”

Trevor Lawrence celebrated with receiver Zay Jones.

Moxie: “Moxie is a word that’s not often used with guys that are as talented as he is, but I think it’s appropriate, he does have moxie,” Jeremiah said.

“This is a dude who will lay it on the line and will fight you to the death in a game,” Riddick said, “and you’ll have to drag him off the field.”

It is exactly the way they remember Lawrence when he was the quarterback on Friday nights for Cartersville (Ga.) High School.

“He never was a big shot. He never seemed like he was better than anybody else,” Darrell Givens said by phone.

Givens is the owner of mom-and-pop Capri Restaurant. Lawrence, 6-foot-6 and skinny and hungry, used to stop by for pancakes and gravy biscuits.

“I remember one customer that came from Gainesville, Florida, and he would stay in a hotel right up the road from us, the Hilton, and he would stay there, and he came in every home game,” Givens said. “He said, ‘I’ll never make it to a pro football game, and I wanted to see a pro quarterback play.’ ”

There are still plenty of No. 16 jerseys evident all around proud Cartersville.

“He always took the time to talk to everybody,” Givens said. Especially the kids. “He was so tall, a lot of times he wouldn’t stand and look down at ’em, he’d get down on a knee and talk to ’em,” she said.

Generational quarterback.