The countdown to the new NFL regular season is moving quickly and the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to have to make some tough decisions. Although Trevor Lawrence was regarded as the indisputable best quarterback prospect in recent years, the Jags aren’t yet committed to putting him out there as the games crank up. There’s still a chance that Gardner Minshew II could be chosen, with both standout QBs competing for the spot.
A Race for the Jags QB Job
The number-one overall pick in the 2021 draft, Lawrence is expected to bring a new level of awesomeness to the Jags team. However, things don’t always work out like that in football. Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer told reporters this week that there is still an “open competition” between Lawrence and Minshew for the starting job when the Jaguars play their first regular season game against the Houston Texans on September 12. There are already a number of online sportsbooks opening bets on the decision.
It’s possible, as plenty of coaches have done and continue to do, that Meyer doesn’t want to let the cat out of the bag yet, but his comments could also be a direct reflection of what’s going on with the team. The Jaguars haven’t even announced which QB will start this Saturday, when the team plays its first preseason game. Jacksonville will face the Cleveland Browns, a team that proved to be much stronger last season than most had expected.
Lawrence Has Serious Potential
Both Lawrence and Minshew have been busy in training camp, participating in first-team reps as they get ready for the season, and a possible starting position. Lawrence comes into the NFL as a top prospect that began when he was a true freshman at Clemson. He gifted the team with a 15-0 record, throwing for 674 yards and six touchdowns, adding two College Football Playoff wins in the process – one against Notre Dame and the other against Alabama.
When the 2021 NFL Draft was approaching, it was expected that Lawrence would be one of the first picks, but it wasn’t a given that he would be number one. Mock drafts had him at the top, but a couple of other top QBs were on teams’ radars, as well. He proved his worth in being the first player selected, and now has to prove himself on the field.
According to B/R’s NFL Scouting Department, “Overall, Lawrence is living up to the hype he received as the top high school quarterback in the country and looks like a Week 1 franchise quarterback with the upside to win multiple MVPs, and only injuries or an incompetent franchise will put him on a path toward failure.”
Minshew Brings NFL Experience
Minshew, however, has proven himself to be a strong asset in pro football. Even though a lot of the focus has been on Lawrence, The 25-year-old QB has NFL experience already and has seen more action. In 23 games, Minshew has thrown for 5,530 yards with 37 touchdowns and has earned a 62.9 completion percentage.
It’s not going to be possible for either QB to prove himself in the preseason and the battle may be fought on the field after September 12. Meyer will have to decide if his rookie QB has what it takes to get the team off to a strong start, or if he wants to rely on experience. The Jags finished the 2020-21 season with an embarrassing 1-15 record, and need to get off on the right foot this year if they want to turn things around.