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NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings: No. 1 – Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

The presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft will be Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has done but nothing but win in his career.
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With Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, the Green Bay Packers are set atop the depth chart at quarterback. However, with backup Tim Boyle signing with the Detroit Lions in free agency, Green Bay could use a developmental prospect.

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is our No. 1-ranked quarterback.

What does Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence have in common with DJ Khaled?

All they do is win, no matter what.

Lawrence led Clemson to a national championship as a true freshman in 2018 and concluded his career with a 34-2 record (.944) as a starter. That’s the third-best winning percentage by a starting quarterback with at least 30 career starts since Division I split in 1978, trailing only Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949). Nine of those wins came against ranked opponents. He never lost a regular-season game in college or in high school.

“From the time he walked into that building in January [2018], just a couple of weeks removed from eating in the high school cafeteria, we knew he was the real deal,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said after the Tigers won the national championship. “He was a leader, Day 1. And, oh, by the way, he can sling that dang football around, too, can’t he?”

His predecessor, Deshaun Watson, predicted Lawrence would become a legend. That legend stood out as an eighth-grader. Joey King was taking over the Cartersville (Ga.) High School team when he heard about Lawrence. During spring practice, he let Lawrence practice with the high school team. He immediately started making jaw-dropping plays.

“Whoa,” King said at the time. “This kid is going to be special. Whatever ‘it’ is, he has it.”

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Lawrence lived up to the ridiculous hype at Clemson. As the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, he’s got the right mind-set to tune out, as Swinney calls them, the “thumb gangsters” on social media.

“I’ve heard just about everything you could imagine, good and bad, both just as dangerous,” Lawrence said. “The biggest thing is I know who I am, and just sticking to who I am regardless of what some random person online says.”

Winners make big plays. According to Pro Football Focus, his “straight dropback accuracy” improved from 50.1 percent his first two seasons to 63.6 percent in 2020 despite playing with a lesser supporting cast.

Winners also avoid big mistakes. He went a staggering 364 calendar days between interceptions, a 366-pass streak that ended during a 391-yard, five-touchdown first half against Georgia Tech.

With COVID raging across the country, Lawrence became front and center in the players’ campaign to play through the pandemic. Ultimately, he wound up missing two games due to COVID. By late in the season, he sounded a bit like Rodgers in voicing his gratitude for his situation.

“Just shows you it’s a privilege to get to do what we do,” Lawrence said. “The days can be long sometimes, and sometimes you can kind of lose sight of what you do and why you do it. (I’m) really more appreciative than ever to be back. It means, just being a part of this team.”

Measureables: 6-foot-5 5/8, 213 pounds. 10-inch hands.

Stats and accolades: In three seasons, Lawrence completed 66.6 percent of his passes for 10,098 yards, with 90 touchdowns vs. 17 interceptions. In 10 games in 2020, he completed a career-high 69.2 percent of his passes for 3,153 yards with 24 touchdowns vs only five interceptions. He finished second in Heisman Trophy voting in 2020 and seventh in 2019.

NFL Draft Bible Says: Lawrence possesses prototype size, along with great range and adequate athleticism. However, his best attribute is ball placement and touch, as Lawrence showcases the arm strength to make all the throws and fit them into tight windows. His mobility is limited, but he does show tremendous balance and ability to extend plays in the pocket. He does an outstanding job keeping his eyes downfield when scrambling, making it difficult for rovers, nickel backs and linebackers to spy on him. In addition, he can alter his arm angle if needed and displays a quick, smooth release.