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On to 2024: Evaluating Quarterbacks 

022124 on to 24 QB's

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and Jaguars/NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks examine the Jaguars' quarterback position in this position-by-position look at the '24 offseason

Position: Quarterback.

  • Position coach: Mike McCoy.
  • 2023 starters: Trevor Lawrence (16), C.J. Beathard (1).
  • Others: Matt Barkley, E.J. Perry.

2023 At A Glance

The Jaguars' quarterback position in '23 was as expected largely about Trevor Lawrence, with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft starting 16 of 17 games – playing well for large stretches but also dealing with a slew of injuries that helped define the season. Lawrence completed 370 of 564 passes for 4,016 passes for 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions – his second consecutive 4,000-yard passing season. Lawrence threw 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions in the first 12 regular season games, leading the Jaguars to an 8-3 record before sustaining a high-ankle sprain in a 34-31 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Lawrence, including that loss to the Bengals, left three of the final six games with injuries, with the Jaguars losing five of those six games and missing the postseason and the AFC South title by one game. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard started one game, a 26-0 Week 17 home victory over the Carolina Panthers, and completed 17 of 24 passes for 178 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in the game.

Offseason Storyline

The offseason storyline around the quarterback could mainly be about speculation, with observers wondering if and when the Jaguars and Lawrence will agree to a long-term extension – and whether such an extension is the correct move at this time. Teams can sign drafted players to extensions following their third NFL season, with Lawrence becoming eligible this offseason. Has Lawrence done enough to establish himself as the franchise quarterback of the future? Has he done enough to merit a contract in the financial realm of quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals? Where might the sides agree financially? Will it happen this offseason? Those questions will be at the forefront of Jaguars conversation this offseason.

Free agents as of March 15: Barkley.

Bucky Brooks' Top Free-Agent Quarterbacks:

  1. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
  2. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
  3. Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts

Bucky Brooks' Top Three Collegiate Quarterback Prospects:

  1. Caleb Williams, USC
  2. Drake Maye, North Carolina
  3. Jayden Daniels, Louisiana State 

Oehser Analysis: The thought here is this remains a Jaguars strength, with Lawrence very much the Jaguars' quarterback of the future – and at the same time needing to improve significantly in the coming seasons. The primary area in which Lawrence must improve: Turnovers. Lawrence in his first three NFL seasons has 62 turnovers – 39 interceptions and 23 turnovers. That number is somewhat skewed by 17 interceptions in his rookie season, and not all interceptions or turnovers are solely because of quarterback errors. Among Lawrence's strengths is the ability to extend plays and make plays "above the Xs and Os," but that ability and tendency to try to make something out of nothing at times has led to costly turnovers. His ability to find the right balance in that high-stakes risk-reward equation will go a long way toward determining if he will be among the league's elite quarterbacks in the coming seasons – and an equally long way toward determining the Jaguars' success in the same span.

Brooks' Analysis: Despite posting back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons, Lawrence's 2023 campaign can be viewed as disappointing. The third-year pro struggled with turnovers and critical errors in key moments as the Jaguars' offense failed to find a rhythm despite a talented lineup. While some of Lawrence's struggles coincided with a series of injuries, the young gunslinger must improve as a decision-maker for the Jaguars to take the next step as a playoff contender. Whether it is understanding when to throw the ball away under duress or exhibiting better situational awareness in two-minute or end-of-half situations, QB1 must improve as a manager for the team to chalk up more wins in 2024. With the quarterback poised to receive a hefty contract extension soon, Lawrence needs to clean up his game to earn the big bucks franchise quarterbacks command in today's market.

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