Sorry, Jets fans.
Urban Meyer’s potential hire as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars is probably not the miracle needed to allow generational quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence to slip to the Jets as the No. 2 pick in the draft. Meyer has long resisted NFL overtures — most notably from his native Cleveland Browns — so his change of heart has raised a question: Why now?
Part of the draw for Meyer is building around Lawrence, multiple NFL sources told The Post, and one coach says there is “no chance he gives that up.” So dies the dream that a former Ohio State coach might favor Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields over Lawrence with the No. 1 pick.
“If you think you are going to throw Justin Fields in right away, and he is going to be a franchise guy, that’s not going to be it. He needs to sit a while,” an AFC scout said. “Trevor Lawrence is a can’t-miss guy with high character.”
For the never-say-never crowd, consider Meyer’s quarterback evaluation record isn’t flawless. He chose Dwayne Haskins over Joe Burrow as Ohio State’s starter in 2018. Haskins had a record-setting season, Burrow transferred to LSU and eventually won the Heisman Trophy. Both became first-round draft picks, but Haskins is out of the NFL and Burrow is a burgeoning star.
“It would be ludicrous,” an experienced general manager said of bypassing Lawrence, “but what has he done to emulate what he might do here? The NCAA transfer portal is like NFL free agency: Who would you rather have on your team? That was a bad choice in my mind.”
Fields transferred from Georgia to Ohio State on Jan. 4, 2019 — three days after Meyer coached his final game. Meyer helped Fields land at Ohio State and remains close to the program and his successor Ryan Day.
But Meyer isn’t going to let an old rivalry with Clemson — or Fields out-dueling Lawrence in this year’s College Football Playoff — dictate the future.
In fact, he has not held back praising Lawrence, labeling him “the best quarterback in college football” in each of the last two seasons.
“I had Fields and Trevor right next to each other,” Meyer said in his role as a Fox analyst. “I put Trevor Lawrence first for one reason — he played one more year. That was it. The one thing I’ll say about Justin Fields, because I’m very close to the situation, any concerns about him being a throwing quarterback are gone now. He’s developed. He’s outstanding.”
Could Fields pass Lawrence during the months of workouts and interviews ahead? Sorry, Jets fans.
“I don’t see any chance of that,” said Matt Miller of NFLDraftScout.com, who actually ranks Fields behind BYU’s Zach Wilson and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance as well as Lawrence. “I really think Lawrence is the best fit of any quarterback in this class for Meyer’s offense. He’s the best QB prospect of the last decade. He’s going No. 1.”
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