2021 NFL Draft Profile: QB Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence – QB – Clemson – 6’6/220lbs

Hometown: Cartersville, GA

High School: Cartersville High School

Notes: Lawrence has been touted as a top NFL prospect since his first snap at Clemson. He’s the perfect combination of arm strength and accuracy. Lawrence is great at keeping his eyes down the field. He rarely panics when he is rolling out of the pocket and is willing to wait for routes to develop. He is exceptionally good at putting his receivers in positive positions after the catch. Trevor has great feet in the pocket and rarely makes inaccurate throws because of his mechanics. Lawrence is tough as nails and can take hits. His physical attributes at (6’6 220) are perfect for the quarterback position in the NFL. He can stay on his feet well and provides exceptional body control. Lawrence could use some work on his deep balls, as he sometimes misses where the receiver is expecting the ball.

2019 stats: 268/407, 3,000 yards, 36 TD, 65.8 completion %

TFC Big Board Position: 1

NFL Draft: https://thefinalcount.blog/2021-nfl-draft/

Clips:

Vs. LSU

Vs. Texas A&M

Vs. OSU

Vs. Virginia

CFB National Championship Top Prospects, Things to Watch, Picks

The College Football Playoff had its inaugural year in 2015. Since then, we have seen upsets, big wins, and just good old football.

Tonight when Clemson takes on LSU for the National Championship, there will be no shortage of fireworks.

Prospects to Watch

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence has been on a roll down the stretch, throwing for 561 yards and 6 TD’s in his last 2 games. Although he struggled in the Ohio State game, particularly with his poor completion percentage (54.5%), he was able to make big plays with his legs and made the big throws when he needed to. Lawrence is set up to be a prime prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s projected as a first round pick, and many people think he will be the first overall selection. It will be interesting to see how LSU’s defense will contain Lawrence.

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is a top prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. He display’s incredible arm strength and he can get yards on the ground.

Speaking of QB’s, we should also talk about LSU QB Joe Burrow. The 2020 Heisman winner has been the best player in college football all season. Burrow has thrown for 50 TD’s and 5,000 yards and his QB efficiency rating (204.6) is the highest total for any quarterback since the stat was first used in 1956.

Burrow is the clear and obvious first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, at least for me. He displays the size and pocket presence of a young Tom Brady. It will be exciting to see Burrow and Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa battle it out in the NFL for years to come.

Throwing into tight windows is what every NFL QB needs to do. Joe Burrow has done it on 5.02% of his throws this season, which is the highest in the FBS.

LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been ELECTRIC this season. He has rushed for 1,304 yards and 16 TD’s. Edwards-Helaire is growing on 2020 NFL Draft Analysts, including me. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has said the physical back made a strong case for “being taken no later than Day 2.” Personally I value Edwards-Helaire the same. He’s a back that can do everything on the offensive side of the ball.

Image result for clyde edwards-helaire pff
Week 9 vs. Auburn, Edwards-Helaire was crucial to LSU’s victory. He has been a rock for LSU all season and in the college football playoff. (via: PFF)
Although Joe Burrow and LSU’s WR’s have been the stars for LSU, players like Edwards-Helaire have been playmakers all season.

Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons has been a beast this season. Physically, he looks like an LB but his size doesn’t hold him back from being as athletic as a safety. He can run with any receiver, and can pass rush like a defensive end.

With an overall PFF grade of 88.9 in 2018 and the Butkus Trophy award, Simmons could have declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Instead, he returned to school and somehow GOT BETTER. Simmons had 61 solo tackles and 6 sacks this season. I have him as an early first round pick because of his versatility. This is a player who can play LB, Safety, and rush as a Defensive End. NFL scouts and GM’s will have all eyes on him as the combine approaches.

Isaiah Simmonds is soaring up draft boards because of plays like this.

LSU DE K’Lavon Chaisson is another defender to keep an eye on. He can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3 alignment. Whenever Trevor Lawrence drops back tonight, expect Chaisson to be in his vicinity.

Chaisson wreaked havoc against the Longhorns this season. Here is every snap that he played in that game.

Clemson RB Travis Etienne is an elusive back that I have studied closely all season. He’s projected as a second round pick, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team pick him in the first round around picks 28-32 as a quick contributor on a good offense.

Etienne had the game of his life against Georgia Tech this season, rushing for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns. Here are the full highlights.

Keys to the Game

As for the game itself, LSU needs to slow Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence down early. Ohio State did a nice job of pressuring Lawrence in the first half last week. I expect to see that dialed up again as LSU’s pass defense has struggled all season.

Trevor Lawrence exploded against Virginia in the ACC Championship game.

Clemson needs to switch up defenses and confuse Burrow. LSU QB Joe Burrow succeeds against both man and zone defense, with a 77.6 completion percentage against man defense, and 72.0% against zone defense, respectively. Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons looks to be an important player tonight, as he needs to get pressure on Burrow and defend the pass, specifically LSU WR Justin Jefferson.

Pick

I am going to go with LSU -5.

I have been so impressed with Clemson this season, they continue to grow as a program. People will disrespect them because of their easy schedule, and I think it’s an overrated argument. I am sure that it played a factor into their season, but they were just running through the ACC like a tornado. Dominating teams has been the new normal at Clemson thanks to Clemson HC Dabo Swinney.

Image result for dabo swinney
Dabo Swinney and Clemson agreed to a 10 year, $93 million dollar contract in 2019 that keeps him at Clemson through 2028.

But, LSU QB Joe Burrow is just too good. He threw for 7 TD’s in the first half last week. LSU is 9-5 ATS in 2019 (64.3%, +7.7). While Clemson is 11-3 ATS, that is mostly attributed to their blowout wins all season. I will always value SEC scheduling when predicting matchups in college football.

The Final Count is 37-29 (56.1%) on college football this season.

College Football Playoff Matchups Released – Odds/Reaction

So, there it is. This was predictable after the games last night. There was no other option besides Oklahoma at 4. They were easily the best one loss team. I had a slight argument for Georgia but that slowly faded watching them play in last night’s SEC Championship loss to LSU.

The odds

I thought LSU would open closer to -9.5 but it didn’t shock me to see them a bit higher. Their offense is so good. Joe Brady has Burrow and co. playing like a pro style style juggernaut.

Clemson opens as a 2 point favorite against Ohio State. Trevor Lawrence and Clemson beat up on Virginia in the ACC Championship, 62-17. Ohio State struggled early against Wisconsin, but pulled away late and won the Big Ten Championship by a score of 34-21.

Two headlines I’ll leave you with

  • How will Oklahoma’s 82nd ranked defense stack up against Joe Burrow and LSU’s top rated, pro-style offense?
  • Will Ohio State’s tough schedule prepare them for the matchup against Clemson, a team that has played ONE ranked team all season long?

I will release a pick-em podcast for these games and NFL Week 15 next Thursday or Friday.

Let me know in the comments who you think has the best shot to win it all.

Do Not Lose Faith In Eagles and Wentz

Written By: Gianfranco Illiano

The Philadelphia Eagles fell to 5-6 after a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Carson Wentz had his worst game as a pro. He completed 33/45 of his passes while throwing for 256 yards, along with four turnovers. That’s 5.6 yards per completion, which is horrendous. It means the offense couldn’t move the ball through the air.

No matter how many times the Eagles got the ball back, it never felt like the Eagles offense could make a play or complete a drive. The NFL could’ve added four more quarters to the game and the Eagles still wouldn’t have come close to taking the lead. The offense was out of sync. 

Was Wentz inaccurate on Sunday? Yes, of course. There are plenty of plays that shows Wentz not executing the proper mechanics of playing quarterback and there are plenty of throws that Wentz wishes he had back.

On this play in the first quarter, Wentz had a clean pocket, but delivered an inaccurate pass to Zach Ertz on third down. You can argue Ertz should’ve hauled in this pass because he got a hand on it. It depends on who you ask.

On this third down play, Wentz had a clean pocket, but he can’t find any of his primary options down the field. Instead, he saw Miles Sanders on the left side wide-open but overthrew him by a mile. It was probably the easiest throw of the day, yet it was Wentz’s worst throw. It could’ve been a touchdown.

Wentz had some good throws on Sunday. Towards the end of the first quarter, Wentz delivered a bullet pass to Ertz for the first down. It was a small window, crowded with defenders, but Wentz found a way to get it to his target.

Wentz also didn’t get much help from his teammates. Rookie Andre Dillard, whose primary position is left tackle, was lined up at right tackle on Sunday. He was asked on Friday for a comparison to describe the transition and Dillard compared the experience to having to write with a different hand.

On this play, Andre Dillard is at right tackle and gets knocked down by Seattle’s Rasheem Green, leading to a Wentz fumble. 

Andre Dillard was later benched in favor of Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

Fans will point the finger at Wentz as the sole reason why the offense has been struggling and obviously that’s idiotic. Quarterbacks can’t do everything on offense. The facts are, Wentz was without a lot of key pieces and Coach Pederson was extremely limited when it came to play calling. Those aren’t excuses, it is reality. No team in the NFL can win without its top three receivers, its starting running back, and its two best offensive linemen.

Eagles fans need to take a step back, take a deep breath and realize the season isn’t over. Yes, the offense has been struggling, but let’s get one thing straight– the defense has been showing up! Jim Schwartz has this defense playing at a high level. The Cowboys lost to the Patriots on Sunday, which means the Eagles remain one game behind. Do not lose faith in Wentz and the Eagles.

 

Follow Gianfranco Illiano on twitter: @illiano15

Report: Greg Schiano will be Rutgers next head coach

A source recently told me that Greg Schiano will be Rutgers next head coach. News that many fans are sure to be excited about.

I do not have contract details or when exactly he will be signing, but I have reason to believe it could happen before the season is over.

Schiano, who was Rutgers head coach from 2001-2011, went 68-67 in his time there, including 5-1 in bowl games.

I will update this blog as I continue to gather more information.