Every year in the NFL there are exceptional teams, average teams and teams like the 2020 New York Jets, who have no playoff aspirations and are the laughing stock of the league. Instead of these team’s fans cheering for wins, many of them cheer to lose and tank the season for the purpose of getting the No. 1 draft pick. For this upcoming draft, that top draft pick will most likely be Clemson’s quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who many scouts call the greatest quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. With that much praise from scouts, along with a remarkable college career, it makes sense why the phrase ‘Tanking for Trevor’ is trending on social media every Sunday.
Although there are exceptions, in general, most of the underachieving NFL teams this season, such as the Jets and New York Giants, have one common denominator: subpar quarterback play. Many of the fans want a change at the position and have expressed their eagerness for Lawrence to hold their team’s jersey come draft day. Lawrence is aware of the ‘Tank for Trevor’ campaigns but is not reading too much into it, saying, “It's funny. I don't take it too seriously. You can't really predict where you're going to go, what's going to happen, so all I can do is enjoy my time while I'm here, perform the best I can and enjoy where I'm at right now. We'll see next year what happens."
Lawrence is not alone in being asked about his future as an NFL draft prospect. Greg Logan, a writer for New York Newsday, recently snuck into Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s press conference and asked about Lawrence’s playstyle in comparison to Deshaun Watson. Swinney went on to have a playful conversation with Logan over the interest from New York, to which Logan responded with “We’ve got nothing else to look forward to.”
Swinney also hinted at the fact that he has received communication from New York before the asking of that question by Logan, saying “Man, we’re popular in New York these days.” Based on the current NFL standings, the Jets would pick at No. 1 and the Giants would pick at No. 2, so it is understandable that New York has so much interest in Lawrence. The Giants may not choose to move on from their current quarterback Daniel Jones, but if they do, the fit for Lawrence would not be horrible. However, the same is not true with the Jets.
Although it is an honor being the first pick in the draft, it may be in Lawrence’s best interest to refuse to play for the Jets, who have one of, if not the worst, rosters in the league along with one of the worst head coaches in Adam Gase. It is highly unlikely that Lawrence will be this brash with his preference in a team, but for the sake of his professional career, his camp might float the idea out to him. The NFL saw this sort of situation play out in 2004 when former Giants quarterback Eli Manning refused to play for the San Diego Chargers, who had the No. 1 pick just like the Jets might this year. Hindsight is 20/20, but Manning did win two Super Bowls with the Giants, so one could easily say he made the right decision.
The NFL is clearly ready for Lawrence to move into the professional stage of his football career. Fans are tweeting for him to join their team and team executives are almost definitely making calls to Lawrence’s coaches and his inner circle. Despite all of these distractions and outside pressures, Lawrence is continuing to play at an All-American level. So while fans are tweeting ‘Tanking for Trevor’ Lawrence is focusing on going out on top and winning his second national championship with the Tigers.