Trevor Lawrence is a lock to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. If you ask just about anyone around the game of football, they’ll say that top prospect ranking is well deserved.
But, there’s one former NFL coach who wouldn’t be calling Lawrence’s name if he still had the choice. In fact, the former Clemson quarterback wouldn’t even be in his top two.
“Hey, I do like him. But I would not take him with the first pick, though,” Jones told Yahoo Sports. “Everyone is saying that’s the guy at [No. 1]. But I would trade that pick and take one of these other quarterbacks down the line.”
Ahead Lawrence at No. 2, Jones has BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Often considered one of the next best options behind Lawrence, this answer is far less surprising than the former NFL coach’s No. 1 choice.
Coach Jones has the Crimson Tide QB at No. 1 because of his deadly down-field accuracy — something he thinks Lawrence could use some work on. He noted that Lawrence was often bailed out by receiver talent on miss-thrown deep balls.
“He’s a very talented kid, don’t get me wrong, and I think he’s a winner,” Jones said. “He can do things that other quarterbacks can’t do, such as run.
“But what I’ve noticed is, when you see him drop back and throw, let’s say, a 9-route down the field, on those completions that he had over 20 yards, a lot of times his receivers make great plays on those balls. And they weren’t right on the money, they weren’t right in stride. The receivers sometimes had to work for the deep ball with him than what (you’d expect from) a great quarterback.”
Starting his career as quarterbacks coach for Hawaii in 1983, Jones has always been a QB-minded leader. The former Rainbow Warriors coach said Mac Jones is the most accurate downfield passer he’s ever seen.
“Mac’s deep-ball accuracy is probably the best that I have graded in my years of coaching quarterbacks,” Coach Jones said. “He’s almost at 55 percent at over 20 yards, which is unbelievable.” [Factoring in dropped passes, Jones completed 67.1% on passes over 20 yards in 2020, per PFF].
While Jones may be deadly accurate in the deep-ball game, judging him solely on this aspect provides a pretty single-faceted view.
With the prototypical NFL body, elite accuracy, mobile escapability and tested leadership skills — Lawrence is objectively the better all-around quarterback.