Trevor Lawrence has long been anointed as the next great NFL quarterback prospect.
He entered Clemson after a record-breaking career in Cartersville, Ga. to massive hype and answered the call instantly, defeating college football's best dynasty as a true freshman to win the National Championship. That hype hasn't gone away in the years following, either, with Lawrence finding himself highly ranked in one collection of all-time quarterback prospects.
ESPN's Mel Kiper has been scouting the NFL Draft since 1979 and has recently gone through all of his pre-draft grades on each quarterback prospect since, with the goal of finding out just where Lawrence stacks up. And once again, the Lawrence hype didn't fail to meet the lofty expectations.
Lawrence, who is widely projected to be the No. 1 overall pick at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars on April 29, was ranked as Kiper's fourth highest-graded quarterback prospect ever, leaving him just one spot behind his idol, Peyton Manning.
Kiper ranked John Elway as his No. 1 pre-draft grade, followed by Andrew Luck, Manning, and then Lawrence. Lawrence finished with a higher grade from Kiper than every other quarterback since and before, including other passers in Kiper's top-10 such as Jim Kelly, Andre Ware, Drew Bledsoe, Ryan Leaf, Troy Aikman, and Josh Allen.
Kiper's word clearly isn't everything, but he is one of the go-to names when it comes to NFL Draft history and media scouting. To see someone with his extensive history in the industry deliver their pre-draft grades gives a good perspective of how Lawrence is seen as a prospect compared to others.
It is interesting to see that most of Kiper's top-10 quarterbacks have been good players in the NFL as well. Ware and Leaf are the only busts on the list. Elway, Manning, Kelly, and Aikman are Hall of Famers. Luck could have been if he didn't retire, but was still a perennial Pro Bowler. Bledsoe was a good quarterback. And of course, Kiper was one of the few to sing Allen's praises as a prospect -- Allen just finished one of the best recent seasons any young quarterback has had.
Essentially, the Jaguars should be beyond thrilled if Lawrence ends up like any of those eight quarterbacks. Lawrence becoming a bust to the level of Leaf or Ware would be unprecedented for a number of reasons, after all.
Whether Lawrence deserves the label of "generational" truly depends on who is the one defining the word at the time, but he is clearly one of the cleanest quarterback prospects to enter the NFL level in some time.
Lawrence is 34-2 as a starter, having only lost in the College Football Playoffs (as a sophomore, to LSU in the Championship and as a junior to Ohio State in the semifinals). As a freshman, Lawrence defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship.
In his career, Lawrence completed 66% of his passes for 10,098 yards (8.9 yards per attempt, 9.8 adjusted yards per attempt) for 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Lawrence isn't perfect, but his blend of size, arm talent, play-making ability, and high-level processing skills make a genuinely great quarterback prospect. He is widely considered the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012, or is at the very least in the conversation. PFF recently revealed Lawrence is their top overall graded prospect of the last seven drafts as well.