The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first pick of this season’s NFL Draft.
Last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year lost just two games during his time at Clemson, who he led to victory in the 2019 National Championship, and is highly rated for his accuracy and athleticism.
Last year’s virtual event – hosted by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell from his basement due to the pandemic – was replaced by events throughout Cleveland including at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the city’s Browns franchise.
Lawrence, however, decided to remain at home with his family as his selection was announced and produced a familiar flip of his signature long blonde for the cameras as he pulled on a Jaguars jersey for the first time as a player.
The 21-year-old will unite at Jacksonville with former Ohio State and Florida coach Urban Meyer, who has come out of retirement to lead his first NFL team.
Analyst predictions proved accurate with the top three picks being used on quarterbacks, in a repeat of the 1971 and 1999 drafts, with the New York Jets using the second overall choice on Brigham Young University’s Zach Wilson and Trey Lance of North Dakota State going to the San Francisco 49ers.
The acquisition of Lance, 20, marked another twist for the 49ers after they secured the pick with a pre-draft trade also involving the Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles.
San Francisco, who reportedly enquired earlier on Thursday about trading for Green Bay Packers quarterback and reigning league Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers, then surprised many by opting against Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Mac Jones to instead select Lance.
The top 10 picks were dominated by offensive positions with the quarterbacks joined by three wide receivers, an offensive tackle and two tight ends, which included Florida’s Kyle Pitts who became the highest-chosen in his position in draft history when the Atlanta Falcons took him at four.
Jaycee Horn was the first defence player selected after being picked at eight by the Carolina Panthers, with the South Carolina product immediately followed by fellow corner-back Patrick Surtain II of Alabama.
The Eagles used the 10th pick to acquire Surtain’s former Crimson team-mate and wide-receiver DeVonta Smith, following Philadelphia’s deal with NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys.
The agreement saw the Cowboys add a third-round pick from the Eagles to their existing two picks in that round and move down two spots to acquire linebacker Micah Parsons of Penn State at 12th.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields, another fancied pocket prospect, excited fans in Illinois when the Chicago Bears did a deal with the New York Giants to rocket up from 20th to nab the quarterback with the 11th pick.
The three-day event is the second biggest on the NFL calendar – after the Super Bowl – as the 32 teams select hundreds of newly eligible players.