Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields? The experts weigh in


by - Senior Writer -
Lawrence ran for 107 yards against the Buckeyes.
Lawrence ran for 107 yards against the Buckeyes.

Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence. The debate over which quarterback is better and which one will be deemed worthy of the top overall pick in next year’s draft will continue all season, but several experts have already weighed in.

In a story that ran Sunday, we took a look at how Lawrence compares to the rest of the ACC and nationally. In this lengthy edition, draft analysts and college football analysts weigh in.

Fields threw for 3,273 yards and scored a combined 51 touchdowns in his first season with the Buckeyes. Lawrence enters 2020 having completed 527-of-804 career passes for 6,945 yards with 66 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 1,610 snaps in 30 career games (26 starts). He also enters 2020 with 967 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on 163 career carries.

Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah joined the Ringer’s Ryen Russillo podcast and said that Lawrence has a slight edge in his mind.

“Between Fields and Lawrence, it would be Lawrence for me,” Jeremiah said. “Justin Fields is a tremendous talent, but it isn't all there yet. I know the numbers will say what they are, and they jump off the page, but just some of the vision stuff is going to get better... he just needs to play more. But in terms of the athleticism, making every throw, create plays - he wasn't the same guy after the knee [injury] late in the year - but I think he has more room ahead of him to grow. So right now I think Trevor Lawrence has advanced beyond him at this point and time, but Justin Fields has got tremendous ability, man. It's just not there yet.”

ESPN college football analyst Tom Luginbill also picks Lawrence.

“I would take Trevor Lawrence by an eyelash,” he said. “He has that extra year of experience and he is also a more polished and gifted natural passer at this stage than maybe Justin Fields is right now. Justin Fields might be more dynamic in the sense like a Braxton Miller was for Ohio State, but Justin is a much better passer than Braxton Miller ever was. But I just think there is something innate about Trevor Lawrence as a pure thrower that is very, very unique.”

Pro Football Focus writer Mike Renner places Lawrence of Fields as well.

“Even after the little blip at the beginning of 2019, Lawrence has started off his college career in a manner unparalleled in college football with overall grades of 90.7 and 91.0,” Renner wrote. “He can bury you so many ways and is even a threat with his legs, as he broke 22 tackles on 62 carries last season.”

However, all of the analysts expect Fields to take a step forward this season and perhaps pass Lawrence.

“I saw him at The Opening, when (Fields) and Lawrence were there together, and Fields was better than Lawrence,” Jeremiah said. “In the high school and 7-on-7 tournaments, Fields was the one who popped. He was the guy. So, I think, as good as he was last year, you are going to see him go to whole another level this year.”

Luginbill thinks Lawrence’s ability to run the football – he rushed for a team-high 107 yards that included a 67-yard touchdown run against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl – will be a big part of Lawrence’s repertoire this season.

“Going into the show 'Film Room" before the College Football Playoffs I was speaking with Jeff Hafley (former co-DC at Ohio St. who is now the head coach at BC), who had just come off from that game and I was talking to him about the quarterback run and I was talking to him about Trevor Lawrence,” Luginbill said. “He said, 'We weren't prepared for it because they never did it with him. We go back and we chart everything throughout the entire season, and we might have charted five designated quarterback runs the entire year. And then all of a sudden, they got a bead on us and realized we didn't have a plan for it and we tried to adjust on the fly and we couldn't.' It just goes to show you, number one, that if you have a good athlete at quarterback and you're not using them in the run game, I think you're absolutely nuts, because it changes everything. I think it was a great plan by Clemson that showed another side to Lawrence that maybe people didn't realize how good of an athlete he really is.”

Luginbill noted that Lawrence will be without Tee Higgins (draft) and Justyn Ross (injury), his top two playmakers last season, but thinks the younger receivers will step into the role.

“He has talent, he just doesn't have as much experience,” Luginbill said of Lawrence. “But I tell you what, I would rather have it this way than have it the other way, a bunch of returning skill guys and a brand-new quarterback. I think Trevor Lawrence will be able to make up for some of that, because of who he is. They have (Joseph) Ngata and a lot of young gifted guys and they are going to have to step and play a major role.”

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