Welcome to the NFL Trevor Lawrence.
On his first 11-on-11 in training camp Monday, ESPN reported he struggled when the Jaguars’ defense was allowed to play press coverage and go after his passes. Lawrence went 1-6 with two interceptions and he had a pass batted down.
This may come as a shock to those who supported the selection of Lawrence in Jacksonville, but it is anything but a surprise to me. I expected it. Prior to the draft, I wrote an article warning teams to stay away from Lawrence. In one such article I stated, My main concerns are he tends to wait to identify open targets before unloading and tends to lock in prior to delivery.”
This is what he showed on his college game film at Clemson.
Lawrence additionally showed an “elongated throwing motion,” in college. I cited that as a concern as well. Having an elongated throwing motion takes a longer period of time to get the ball out and it gives defensive backs more of an opportunity to get a jump on his throws. Could that been part of the problem in Monday’s camp? Could it be he did not really look like he knew how to throw timing routes at the intermediate route level like he did in college? Could that be part of the problem in practice Monday?
I believe some of the inadequacies in Lawrence’s game absolutely showed up in this 11-on-11. After all, the only difference between college and the NFL is the game is now faster and more complex, which only promises to work against Lawrence and his development.
To Lawrence’s credit, ESPN also reported he rebounded to go 12-for-14 on an additional 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. They did not say however, what the mix of those pass completions were on the 7-on-7 and 11-on 11. Whether he struggled less when there was less pressure of a pass rush on the 7-on-7 was not indicated.
In a way it is ridiculous to put a training camp drill under the microscope like this (even for me), but I have to admit it did make me smirk when the ESPN notification came across my phone screen about Lawrence’s struggles in practice Monday, since I was the only voice in America who was screaming, “Don’t do it.”
However, is it really ridiculous to put one drill under such a microscope?
I mean after all, Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa had one bad day at mini-camp in a driving rain storm and social media practically exploded. Surely, for Pete’s sake, a day at training camp is then fair game, right? I do doubt people will go quite as wild over Lawrence’s struggles as they did with Tagovailoa. I wonder why? Is it because more people want to see Lawrence succeed than Tagovailoa?
Regardless, I find it interesting – – actually confirming that many of the things that are well documented in my evaluations prior to the draft showed up on the first day Lawrence put on a Jaguar’s helmet and threw when the defense had more freedom. That in fact, is a small feather in my cap in my quest to become an NFL GM.
I do imagine these struggles will continue to show up as well – – because the film does not lie.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.