The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have won the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes after the New York Jets went on a late-season winning streak and lost control of the top overall draft pick, but one report suggests that the Jaguars may take a long look at another quarterback instead.
New York appeared to have tight control of the No. 1 pick after starting the season 0-13, but a two-game winning streak ensured that the Jaguars will have the top selection in the draft later this year. While the Clemson quarterback had long been considered a lock for the top spot, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote that the team may now have to give some thought to taking Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields instead.
Fields had a historic night in the Sugar Bowl this weekend, torching the Clemson defense for six touchdown passes and setting up a national title game matchup with Alabama. If he can replicate the Sugar Bowl performance again in the upcoming contest, Florio said he may get some serious consideration at No. 1.
“While it will take a lot to get the Jaguars to place Fields’ name on a draft card, there’s one more chapter to be written, in 10 days against Alabama. If Fields can do it again, on the biggest stage in college football, will the Jaguars seriously consider taking Fields over Lawrence?” he wrote.
Florio added that there would be several steps between the national title game and Fields going first, including Jacksonville hiring a new general manager and coach. If they hire former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who has already been connected to the Jacksonville job, then it could give a major boost to Fields, who was recruited to the Buckeyes by Meyer.
While the Jaguars are still widely expected to take the Clemson signal caller, the Sugar Bowl performance from Fields may have given a major boost to New York and given them more options. As ESPN reporter Rich Cimini noted, the value of the second pick appears to have increased greatly after the contest, giving more options for New York. If they choose to stick with Sam Darnold as their starter, the team may be able to trade back and take in a huge haul.
“Justin Fields’ performance is a ‘win’ for the Jets. Changes narrative at 2, increases value of the selection. And let’s not forget DeVonta Smith in the first game. Options for #Jets,” he tweeted.