Can Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence continue to improve at historic rate?

By Grant Gordon, Digital Content Editor

Viewed as a generational talent when he was taken at the top of the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence‘s rookie year was lost in the ruins of a disastrous season.

His second-season response was one of historical precedence.

Lawrence improved his passer rating by 23.3 points from 2021’s 71.9 to 2022’s 95.2 — the largest increase in NFL history from a player’s first season to his second (minimum 400 pass attempts), according to NFL Research. It’s not the only historical note of improvement for Lawrence, provided by NFL Research, and poses the question of will Lawrence continue his astounding ascension under head coach Doug Pederson?

In the 2022 season, Lawrence became the first Jaguars quarterback to earn a Pro Bowl selection since David Garrard in 2009 — and just the third all-time (Mark Brunell was a three-time Pro Bowler).

It came as he went 9-8 as a starter a year after going 3-14, leading the Jaguars to their first AFC South title playoff appearance since 2017. And, of course, Jacksonville followed with a comeback for the ages in an AFC Wild Card win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Lawrence tied for the league high in interceptions with 17 as a rookie but halved that number to eight in 2022 while he more than doubled his touchdown numbers from 12 to 25. In doing so, he became just the second quarterback since 1950 to double his wins and passing TDs while cutting his interceptions from one season to another (minimum 10 starts each season). The other was then-San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees in 2003-04.

Brees, a surefire future Hall of Famer, isn’t the only all-time great whose name shows up in comparison to Lawrence’s statistically.

Those aforementioned league-leading 17 picks as a rookie actually put Lawrence in rather great company. He became just the third rookie QB to lead the NFL in interceptions, joining Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and Peyton Manning. Both Manning and Bradshaw won multiple Super Bowls, and each took home at least one Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player accolade.

Lawrence’s record-breaking passer rating improvement of 23.3 points eclipsed the previous standard set by Carson Wentz, who improved by 22.6 points while also under the tutelage of Pederson.

Just as the Jaguars rallied down the stretch last season — going 2-6 prior to winning seven of their last nine — Lawrence turned things around as he settled in with Pederson. From Week 9 through 18, Lawrence emerged as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks statistically, ranking second in the NFL with a 69.7 completion percentage, 15-2 TD-INT ratio and 104.6 passer rating over that span.

Jacksonville is one of seven franchises that has yet to have an NFL MVP.

If Lawrence continues on his trajectory of improvement, perhaps he’ll make some more history in Year 3. He already made plenty in Year 2.

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