There is a term that is thrown around when evaluating quarterback prospects. It is often used too loosely, but sometimes, it’s spot on. That term or phrase is a “generational” quarterback.
If you ask most people, Clemson star signal-caller Trevor Lawrence is largely considered a generational prospect. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Heisman finalist is a sure thing, however.
In fact, ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, a former quarterback himself, believes there is room to miss on a guy like Lawrence. We can’t just assume he’s going to be a franchise-changing presence on the next level.
During an appearance on The Ryen Rusillo podcast on Monday, Dilfer detailed why we need to be careful labeling Lawrence a NFL star before he even gets to the league.
“No, he can still be messed up. I used to say this when I was on ESPN, but quarterback is the most influential position in sports but it’s also the most dependent position in sports. You can’t be LeBron James at quarterback. You can’t put the team on your back. You’re seeing why you can’t do this right now with Deshaun Watson.
“If Lawrence goes to a place with poor offensive vision, and so much of it is scheme-based in the NFL. But if he goes to a place with a poor offensive line and you don’t have at least two other top-50 players in the league, which usually need to be a pass catcher and a runner, and then you need a top-100-200 either tight end or slot receiver — if you don’t have those things, yeah, he could be screwed up.
“He’s fantastic. I am as bullish on Trevor as anybody, and I’ve known him since he was 15 years old. He does have flaws. The narrative started going 12 months ago where they were saying, ‘oh, he has no flaws — he’s perfect!’ No, he’s not.
“He’s super long in his delivery where he has a big front stride and the ball goes way back, left arm gets real wide. He’s found a way, because he’s such an elite athlete, to quicken that up, but it’s still really long. So when you watch him at Clemson and the pocket gets tight, that’s when you see a lot of his errors because he’s so long. The antithesis of that is Tua and Aaron Rodgers, the guys who can play in a phone booth in London.
“The other thing is he gets overly confident in his arm. He has a very good arm, but he doesn’t have the greatest arm in the history of football. On a scale of 1-10, he’s got an eight. He tries to make throws that are 10 throws too often. What you’re going to see, when his receiver isn’t so superior to the opposing corner, you’re going to start writing checks your body can’t cash.”
Dilfer makes an interesting point, and it’s something that NFL evaluators and front offices will have to look at. Will it keep him from going No. 1 overall? Absolutely not, but it’s okay to admit that Lawrence isn’t a guarantee on the next level.
In 39 career games, the junior quarterback has completed 66.5 percent of his pass attempts for 9,698 yards, 88 touchdowns and only 16 interceptions. He’s also closing in on 1,000-career rushing yards (951) with 17 career rushing touchdowns.
Lawrence’s ceiling remains extremely high.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.