The Jacksonville Jaguars had experienced a run of very average seasons before last year’s unmitigated disaster left them rock bottom of the NFL pile. Their 1-15 record was by far the worst in their 25 year run in the NFL and it’s fair to say things couldn’t get any worse.
And in that context, comes number one draft pick Trevor Lawrence, the golden boy quarterback who now holds the fate of the entire franchise on his young shoulders. So how will he fare?
You can see that the arrival of the 21-year-old Clemson graduate has already had a marked impact on the Jaguars odds, check this site to see how the odds comparison service Urban Meyer’s side at (+12500), which is of course very long but interestingly is ahead of a host of other NFL strugglers.
Lawrence will be joined by his former Clemson teammate, running back Travis Etienne, and that will help push an offense that barely got started in 2020, though it has to be said that defensive frailties are even more pronounced at the TIAA Bank Field.
The projected number of wins, set at 6.5, seems low but given the context of a 1-15 season, that’s actually quite positive. Factor in also that last season included a 15 straight run of defeats.
It’s helpful to Meyers that the Jaguars start their season with a relatively easy opener, traveling to divisional rivals in the shape of Houston Texans, and it will be a good chance to see how Lawrence manages in the big time.
Most pundits believe he’ll make an instant impact and there’s a great deal of pressure on the youngster, though he seems to be calm given all the exposure he’s received in recent weeks.
Following his pre-season debut against the Cleveland Browns, Lawrence was refreshingly honest about his emotions and performance;
“The first play you’re a little bit, especially the first game here in the NFL, you’re a little bit nervous; but after that, you’re just playing ball. I Definitely felt that [comfort] setting in.
“I usually typically get nervous before the first game of any season anyway, so that’s pretty standard. I was excited. I was ready to get out there. It’s been a long time coming. It’s been my dream.”
Interestingly Jaguars’ quarterback Gardner Minshew isn’t exactly ecstatic about the probable loss of his position to the young upstart, and amusingly responded to the challenge in a recent interview, stating;
“In preparation for the competition, I haven’t taken a sh-t in weeks. No. 2 isn’t an option for me,”
It isn’t beyond the bounds of reality for a Trevor Lawrence led Jaguars to make the playoffs, you can get odds of (+300) on that at present, but backing them to go much further could be a bridge too far at this early stage.
We’d predict that while Lawrence and Etienne can hone their attacking capabilities, the Jacksonville Jaguars will more often than not be outscored due to their poor defense.