Joe Burrow vs. Trevor Lawrence: Who Will Have The Better Career?

Joe Burrow vs. Trevor Lawrence: Who Will Have The Better Career?

Barry Devoe
1 year ago
5 min read
Joe Burrow vs. Trevor Lawrence: Who Will Have The Better Career?

Two first-round picks, each with so much hype around them. Who will finish with a better career? Let's dive in.

Trevor Lawrence has only started two games so far, so our sample size is not substantial yet, but we do have some data to look at. We can compare Lawrence's first two starts to Burrows and see who was better. 

Comparing Their Current Seasons

Lawrence has thrown four touchdowns and 5 interceptions along with 450 yards and a terrible 50 percent completion percentage with a 57.1 passer rating. He played the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos in those two games.

Burrow threw three touchdowns and one interception along with 509 yards and a respectable 62.3 percent completion percentage with a 78.3 passer rating. He played the LA Chargers and Cleveland Browns in those two games.

Burrow came out and played two respectable opponents with a roster around him that was significantly weaker than the one he has now and didn't do too bad. For a rookie on a team that had the first overall pick, he did well and exceeded expectations, especially only throwing one INT.

Lawrence came out and played one tough opponent in the Denver Broncos and one opponent who shouldn't have been too much of a challenge in the Houston Texans, and as we see with his stats, he didn't do too well.

Of course, his roster is weak, and he doesn't have too much offensive supporting cast around him. His running back from Clemson, Travis Etienne, was injured before the first game and his receivers are mediocre on a good day.

Both guys were starting out with pretty evenly terrible roster depth, and Burrow clearly outperformed Lawrence in every way. Lawrence even has a better offensive line than Burrow did, so far only being sacked twice while Burrow was sacked six times in his first two starts.

What does this mean for their futures?

Burrow has come back from his injury without missing much of a step; this season, through his first two games, he's thrown four TD's, three INT's along with 468 yards and a completion percentage of 68.4 percent with a 94.8 passer rating.

All those INTs came in his game against the Bears, and I would be willing to argue he had an off day, and that won't be his status quo for the remainder of the season.

Burrow looks sharp, and everywhere except INT's, he looks to be trending in the right direction. Even with being sacked ten times through two games, he has looked poised in the pocket and delivered a lot of on-target solid throws.

Lawrence, on the other hand, doesn't look to be settling in much at all yet. He hasn't been sacked much, so he doesn't have as much of a reason to be worried as Burrow does, and he has struggled to make easy throws. He is missing check-downs and simple routes that any NFL QB should be able to hit. 

Lawrence is still an extremely young rookie and is still getting used to the NFL and how to play in it, but I don't know if I believe he can work his way to be a top QB in the league. He is so used to being on teams that provide him with so much talent that he hasn't had to deal with losses and being on a bad team which can be extremely bad for him mentally.

Their Situations

Let's look at guys in similar situations who were drafted out of stacked teams by looking at Alabama since they became dominant starting in 2008. Since then, three QBs have been drafted into the league.

The three are Greg McIlroy in 2011, AJ McCarron in 2014, and Tua Tagovailoa in 2020. Those first two guys were total busts, and Tua has certainly been the best of the three, but he has had his struggles adapting to being on a team with less talent around him as well. 

In my, opinion Burrow was always a much better QB because he wasn't on a team in college that is always winning year after year. LSU was very good in Burrow's senior year, going 15-0 and winning the national title, but the year before, they went 10-3, and after he was drafted (along with many other first-round talents), they dropped to a measly 5-5.

He wasn't the sole reason they were so good that year, of course, but they all worked to get there, unlike Clemson, who can bring in new 5-star talent every single year and pick up right where they left off.

Burrow knew what it was like to grind on a team that really had to work for their wins. In high school, his teams were good, but his senior year, they barely won their first playoff game and lost their second. The team itself was very successful but wasn't unstoppable like Lawrence's team was.

Lawrence never had that struggle and isn't prepared for it now. His week one loss to the Texans was the first regular-season loss of his life; he had won every single regular-season game in high school (68-0) and college (34-0) for every game he started.

That does not tell me he was an unstoppable QB; that tells me he has always been on unstoppable teams.

Lawrence is going to take a long time to get used to not being on a team of 5-star recruits, and it is going to show in his play. He no longer has receivers that are always bigger, stronger, and faster than the guy covering them, and Lawrence will now actually have to throw balls into tight windows and not just toss one up and bet on his guy winning the catch.

Burrow already looks to have adapted to the NFL pretty well, and I believe he will continue to grow and thrive as the team around him slowly gains more pieces. Lawrence, on the other hand, will continue to struggle until the Jaguars are good as a team, and that might not happen for a very long time. 

Who will end their career higher on the all-time list?

Unless we see Jacksonville add some major pieces, I believe Burrow will end up on top, and the only way Lawrence will truly shine in the league is if he goes the Tom Brady route and is constantly surrounded by top-of-the-league talent and coaching.

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