Jags QB Trevor Lawrence ranked atop ESPN's second-year breakout players list

James Johnson
Jags Wire

With training camp starting this week, many will be watching Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence as he enters his second season. This time, however, he will have a better situation around him as Urban Meyer has been replaced with a Super Bowl-winning coach in Doug Pederson.

The Jags’ decision to pair the No. 1 pick from the 2021 draft with Pederson is one the Jags have been praised for much of the offseason. The reason for that is because Pederson has shown he can coach the quarterback position well as fans witnessed during his last stop with the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Pederson now by his side, Lawrence is expected to take a positive step in the eyes of some. That includes Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner, who put Lawrence atop his list of second-year breakout players, which was posted on ESPN.

When discussing Lawrence, Renner pointed to the performance he had to close the season against the Indianapolis Colts, where he was 23-of-32 (71.9%) for 223 yards and two touchdowns against a respectable defense that had a lot to play for.

"Lawrence showed in his rookie season why he was considered to be in such rarified air as a prospect," Renner wrote. "It just took until Week 18 for him to do so. In a meaningless game for the Jaguars, but one that meant everything to the Indianapolis Colts’ playoff aspirations, Lawrence didn’t flinch.

"He delivered the second-highest passing grade any quarterback achieved against the Colts’ defense all season, trailing only Lamar Jackson’s absurd Week 5 outing when he went for 442 yards and four scores on 37-of-43 passing. ... Lawrence's stat line would have even been better were it not for four drops from his receivers."

FILE - Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville, which chose Clemson quarterback Lawrence last year and is expected to add Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson, Georgia's Travon Walker or an offensive tackle next, is looking to become the first to say it nailed both selections. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

His performance in the season finale was arguably his best and gave fans a lot of hope because of the circumstances and the fact that it was against a divisional opponent he will see often. However, there were several other occasions where he previously flashed (most notably against Cincinnati and Miami). Those moments are why fans are optimistic about Lawrence despite his rookie season being a rough one overall.

Renner also pointed to Lawrence’s supporting cast, which didn’t help him much as the receivers dropped 37 passes, which was the second-highest total of any quarterback. That gave Lawrence a loss of 226 passing yards in 2021, and it left a lot of opportunities on the field for the offense.

The Jags didn’t have a perfect offseason but were able to add notables like Christian Kirk and Evan Engram to help the passing game, as well as former All-Pro and Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff. They also will be getting a speed weapon back in running back Travis Etienne, who missed the season with a Lisfranc injury.

These additions and a few others should help Lawrence take another step in 2022. It should also help the overall team at least double their win total as they registered three wins during his rookie season.