Trevor Lawrence's highly anticipated debut didn't produce fireworks on the scoreboard, but he showed signs of why the Jaguars confidently selected him first overall.
Lawrence's quick night ended with a passing line of 6-of-9 for 71 yards and a 90.5 passer rating in Jacksonville's 23-13 loss to Cleveland. Along the way, Lawrence delivered a couple of passes that provided a glimpse of what could be ahead.
"I feel like the first time out there, I felt comfortable, felt poised," Lawrence said, via ESPN. "Obviously, the first play's not kind of what you want for the first play, but after that, I thought we did a good job. We communicated well up front. They did a really good job of protection. At least one of those sacks was on me, for sure, just holding the ball too long. That's something I'll work on. Just maneuvering in the pocket is something I've always got to work on. Other than that, I missed an easy one to Marvin, a little quick out I wish I would have hit. But other than that, I felt good out there. I think we were seeing it, all on the same page. There's obviously things to clean up, but I thought it was a pretty good day."
It didn't begin on a positive note. Lawrence was strip-sacked on his first snap, recovering his own fumble before finding his footing a few plays later. His first highlight came on third down, when Lawrence stood in the face of interior pressure and delivered a pass to Marvin Jones near the sideline, connecting with the veteran for a 10-yard gain and a first down.
The completion had a probability of just 43.3 percent, per Next Gen Stats, highlighting Lawrence's ability to make the unlikely a reality. Later in the quarter, he one-upped himself, delivering a well-placed pass over the head of rookie corner Greg Newsome to Jones for a pickup of 35 yards on third-and-10. That completion had a probability of just 29.6 percent, the most unlikely completion of the night for Jaguars passers, per Next Gen Stats.
Lawrence finished with a completion percentage over expectation of +7.5 on the night, a solid mark for a rookie and the best among first-round rookie passers on Saturday.
Lawrence dealt with pressure fairly often, as Cleveland registered a pressure on three of his 11 dropbacks, which also included two sacks. His production potential will depend on their performance, and they certainly have some things to correct following this game.
Meyer added some of the pressure might have been caused by Lawrence's hesitancy, which isn't unusual to see from a rookie playing in his first NFL action.
"I asked [passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] how he played, and he said he did pretty good," Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said. "I thought the ball to his left right in front of us, I think it was on third down, he really anticipated a nice out cut, scrambled and delivered a nice one to Marvin Jones. He certainly wasn't awestruck. We've got to execute better. We've got to protect him better. And we've got to get all our wideouts healthy and just play better."
It's all part of the process for a team breaking in its rookie quarterback. For those looking to gauge initial reactions on the start of what Jacksonville hopes will be a long and prosperous era, they have reason to be excited about the future.