No, Trevor Lawrence isn’t a bust … yet

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Sometimes, as sports fans, analysts and “experts,” we come to conclusions a little too quickly.

If a player has the most TD passes through the first two weeks of the NFL season, a million columns will be written about how he’s the MVP favorite, despite 16 weeks (and 15 games) still left on the schedule.

If a sub-par MLB team sweeps their opening two series in April/May, starting 5-0 or 6-0, they’ll be deemed a potential dark horse to make the World Series, with plenty of “Did we count out the (insert team here)?” headlines popping up in the process.

And, as I’ve learned this year, if a quarterback struggles in their rookie season — even if they were drafted into a terrible situation — we’re quick to call them a bust.

But in all of the above cases, judgment is premature.

Even if, in the end, we turn out to be right.

In recent weeks, I’ve begun seeing more and more tweets, articles and discussions centered around the following question: Is Trevor Lawrence a bust?

The answer is, to put it simply, no.

And here’s why.

Lawrence, selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Clemson by the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been given a nearly impossible task: to lead the Jaguars out of the dark, disappointing abyss they’ve been trapped in for years.

This year, the Jags are 2-11 and are one of the laughingstocks of the league.

But that’s not all Lawrence’s fault.

He’s been handed a defense that ranks 27th in points allowed per game (24.8), 21st in yards allowed per game (357.2) and is dead last in total takeaways (6).

He’s been a part of an offensive group with the 21st-ranked offensive line (according to Pro Football Focus), a depleted receiving corps — which includes Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. as his top two targets after the losses of DJ Chark Jr. and Jamal Agnew earlier this season — and a serviceable running back in James Robinson, who is severely underused by head coach Urban Meyer.

(It’s worth noting that Lawrence also lost his college teammate in running back Travis Etienne Jr., who was selected by the Jaguars with the No. 25 pick in this year’s Draft, to a foot injury in the preseason.)

And, worst of all, he’s been stuck with a worse-than-incompetent head coach in Meyer who’s brought dysfunction everywhere he’s coached (despite his championship rings) and was clearly not NFL-ready when he was hired on Jan. 14 of this year.

In less than a year as the Jaguars’ head coach, Meyer has:

• hired a former University of Iowa strength coach, Chris Doyle, who had been accused of making racist remarks along with bullying his players at Iowa, then defended the hire when backlash arose. Doyle resigned the following day.

• made national headlines after a video of him getting … a little too close … to a woman (who wasn’t his wife) at a bar in Columbus, Ohio, following the team’s loss to the Bengals on Thursday Night Football in Week 4. The worst part: He let his team fly home to Jacksonville without him while he stayed behind in Ohio, an unprecedented move for an NFL head coach.

• been accused of perpetuating a toxic workplace culture with both players and coaches alike, calling his coaches “losers” and getting into heated arguments with players.

And plenty, plenty more.

Meyer likely won’t be the Jaguars’ head coach once the season ends in January — if he is, it proves the organization is far more doomed than already suspected — and for Lawrence and his teammates, there couldn’t be better news.

The bottom line is, Lawrence has been given next-to-nothing to help him thrive during his first season in the NFL.

He was thrown into the fire immediately, starting Week 1 against the Houston Texans, and never got a chance to sit and watch NFL action before partaking in it.

He never got to study behind a veteran or play alongside a great group of skill position players.

None of it.

But let me be clear: Lawrence hasn’t played well in his first 13 games. And I’m not trying to hide that.

In fact, he’s been pretty terrible, ranking toward the bottom of the league in every major statistical QB category.

He’s tied for the league lead in interceptions (14) with the Bengals’ Joe Burrow after a four-pick performance in shutout loss against the Tennessee Titans over the weekend.

He’s 30th in completion percentage (58.2%), 21st in passing yards (2,735), 28th in touchdowns (9), 28th in yards per completion (28th) and 31st in quarterback rating (68.9).

His numbers are nowhere near what you’d expect from a No. 1 overall draft pick.

But, because of all the reasons I listed above, there’s no reason to call him a bust … yet.

The quarterback position is the toughest position in all of sports to grasp. It’s the position with the most nuance and the biggest need for patience and growth.

Yet, it’s the position with the most scrutiny and impatience from fans and analysts alike.

For some guys, it clicks almost immediately. For others, it takes time.

Lawrence may never get it. He may be seen as a bust alongside the Sam Darnolds and Josh Rosens of the world and could be out of the NFL in a matter of years and only living inside of “Where is this guy now?” videos on YouTube.

Or maybe — just maybe — he’ll get a new coach who wants him to succeed, his skill players will find their way back onto the field or he’ll get traded to an organization that isn’t a perennial bottom-feeder.

Maybe he’ll get more experience, start to figure things out and develop a feel for the fast-paced action of the NFL after having so much success in college.

And if that happens, those of us who called Lawrence a bust before he even played his first full season in the NFL at 22 years old will have some explaining to do, some columns to erase and some tweets to delete.

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

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