By the time the 2020 NFL season came to a close, Justin Herbert was a name every fan couldn’t help but utter with respect. The Los Angles Chargers rookie quarterback had been forced into an impossible situation, named starter just minutes before a Week 2 game against the then reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. Herbert calmly stepped into the huddle and led the Chargers to a close matchup that went to overtime, before ultimately falling 23-20.
At season’s end, Herbert was named NFL Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins spent his first four years in the league with the Chargers, and saw up close what Herbert did to become the best rookie in the league. Back in May, the newly signed free agent told Jaguar Report he saw similarities between Herbert and
Back in April, before the Jags had even drafted Trevor Lawerence No. 1 overall (but when everyone knew they would), Jacksonville safety Rayshawn Jenkins told Jaguar Report he saw similarities between Trevor Lawrence and Herbert.
"They remind me of each other,” explained Jenkins at the time. “I don’t know Trevor, but just watching him, just his pocket presence, being able to deliver balls still getting hit and not really too much shying away from contact.”
“Special,” is Jenkins described Lawrence at the time, purely off what he’d seen in-game. “He tough.”
Now, almost four months later, the Jaguars have drafted Lawrence, Jenkins has met him in person and gone through OTA’s, minicamp and two practices of training camp with the No. 1 overall pick. And what’s he seen thus far has only reinforced his opinion.
Asked his impressions of Lawrence through two days of practice, Jenkins laughed.
It’s a slight understatement based on all observations.
“Strong arm, strong arm,” Jenkins continued. “He can make all the throws that I can see right now.”
While Jenkins had already believed Lawrence was tough, as he told us in the spring, seeing him action has impressed Jenkins even more.
“He’s more mobile than I thought as well too. Guys coming off the edge on those zone reads and stuff you really gotta be on your toes and stuff. So that’s one thing I really noticed, he's more mobile than I thought he was.”
Lawrence was fantastic with the Clemson Tigers, throwing for over 3,000 yards in his final year alone. At 6-6, he walks on the field looking like a prototypical pro-style pocket passer. But during 2020, he also added 203 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, second on the team in both categories, behind only Jaguars' 25th overall pick, Travis Etienne.
What Lawrence did at Clemson and what he’s done in practice to this point though won’t matter when it comes time for the Jaguars to kick off the season on September 12 against the Houston Texans. But if he’s following the Justin Herbert blueprint to a possible rookie sensational season, Rayshawn Jenkins sees enough evidence to this point that Lawrence will be just fine.
“To me, they’re kinda similar. Similar body type, length and everything. They can make any throw you want them to. Pocket presence. So the similarities are there but at the end of the day he has to put it on the field and we’ll see how it goes throughout the season.”