Trevor Lawrence has been the presumptive No. 1 pick since his latter days of high school. As he led Clemson to an undefeated national championship during his freshman season, Lawrence had still not lost a game in his life.
Lawrence had gone undefeated in high school, won a championship his freshman season in college and leading into the 2019 national championship game, had Clemson on the precipice of another title. Until he ran into Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and LSU.
The Tigers were able to cap off a dominant season in college football, one of the best in the history of the sport, with Burrow outdueling Lawrence in the process. Burrow tossed for 463 yards and six total touchdowns without a turnover while Lawrence threw for 234 yards, no touchdowns and one fumble.
Burrow would go on to be the unquestioned No. 1 pick in 2019 but now that it's Lawrence's turn to go No. 1 overall to Jacksonville, a question has been raised about which one would go first overall if they came out of the same class.
"If you didn’t take him and you’re Jacksonville, and it turned out that he was a perennial Pro Bowler, then you’ll never live it down. They have to take him. I think the intangibles are there," NFL Network's Tom Pelissero said. "He can throw the ball. But he does not have unique, rare playmaking ability. If I’m comparing last year to this year, Joe Burrow is picked over Trevor Lawrence 100 times out of 100.”
Burrow's final season in Baton Rouge was historic as his 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns ranked No. 3 and No. 1 respectively all time for a single season. While Lawrence was great throughout his three-year career with Clemson, he never came close to those kind of numbers in a single season.
Pelissero also makes the point that the playmaking ability and intangibles that Burrow displayed during that final season at LSU would propel him over Lawrence. Burrow was well on his way to a great rookie season before his season ending knee injury.
And yet, it would still be an interesting conversation to have in an NFL draft discussion. Would a team still take Burrow, who broke on the scene over the course of one seaaon, over a guy who's been viewed as the "next Andrew Luck" since his arrival?
The two will be playing in the same conference for the foreseeable future so this discussion isn't going away. In fact, the Bengals and Jaguars are set to play in Cincinnati next year, a first look at what could be a great back and forth for years to come.