SOUTH BEND, IN – Deep in the heartland of America’s crossroads, projected top overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft in Clemson Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence stood helplessly on the sidelines during the top-ranked Tigers 47-40 overtime loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. But surely, his thoughts were miles away in Gotham City.
Lawrence, 31-1 as a starter as quarterback for the Tigers is the projected front-runner to win both the 2020 Heisman Trophy and be selected first overall by the winless 0-9 New York Jets, who have a 56 percent chance of obtaining the No.1 pick.
While he may have a chance to own the Big Apple in winning the Heisman and being selected by the Jets, should he pull a John Elway and stay at Clemson or take his talents to New York?
Considering the green and white-colored train wreck that potentially awaits him in playing in the largest media market in the country for the loudest—and most annoyingly vocal fanbase—yeah, I’m talking about you, Fireman Ed!—on top of the pressure of being the top pick, and the most blood-thirsty and ruthless media heads in the country documenting his every move, I don’t know if the 6’6 Knoxville, Tennessee native is ready for all the smoke that Jets fans will throw at him on a daily basis.
While the Jets may have some redeeming qualities in having the money, cap space, hopefully a new coach to replace the incompetent artist formerly know as Adam Gase and some talent on offense in the form of WR’s Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder, the seemingly immortal Frank Gore at RB and the massive LT in Mekhi Becton on offense, what are the jets going to do with third-year QB Sam Darnold?
Is Darnold still the man for the incoming new coaching staff? Or is he—or possibly Lawrence—going to be done in a New York minute?
While it’ not fair that Darnold is likely going to get the Josh Rosen treatment, to paraphrase ESPN’s own Stephen A. Smith, fair is a place where pigs are judged, and does not exist.
If I were advising T-Law and saw that either the Jets or Jaguars had a chance of selecting him, I would suggest staying at Clemson one more year not only to avoid the glittering—and yet shiny—cesspool that awaits him in the site of the old Meadowlands, but also a chance to get one more crack at a CFP title and further hone any potential weaknesses in his already stellar game.
Going into such a potentially bad situation with a blundering and dysfunctional franchise such as the Jets would only hinder his growth and development at the next level, and combined with the constant 24/7 pressure to succeed right out the gate, may prove to be too much, too soon.
Hopefully, whichever way Lawrence decides to go, it’s the right path for the right reasons.