National Football League

Trevor Lawrence's lack of a chip on his shoulder shouldn't be a problem, right?

April 16

For what seems like the first time in the lead-up to the NFL Draft, people are finding imperfections in the presumptive No. 1 overall pick.

No, Trevor Lawrence's arm isn't under fire. Nor are his legs suddenly made of lead. Instead, Lawrence's passion for the game is being questioned.

In an interview with Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated, the star Clemson quarterback gave a look at his philosophy on the game.

"It’s hard to explain that because I want people to know that I’m passionate about what I do and it’s really important to me, but ... I don’t have this huge chip on my shoulder, that everyone’s out to get me and I’m trying to prove everybody wrong. I just don’t have that. I can’t manufacture that. I don’t want to."

That isn't the kind of attitude NFL fans are accustomed to when it comes to all-time great quarterbacks.

Take two future Hall of Famers in Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, for instance.

In 2005, Rodgers slipped down the draft board to the Green Bay Packers with the 24th overall pick. He was passed over by his hometown San Francisco 49ers with the No. 1 pick.

Rodgers famously used — and continues to use — that draft experience as fuel to drive his career. He vowed to exact revenge on the 23 teams that passed on him, including the Niners.

Brady, on the other hand, has been "retired" by pundits for years now, only to continue to persevere and, most recently, win the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at age 43.

After being drafted in the sixth round in 2000, not only is Brady focused on proving critics wrong, but also he dedicated an entire video series to proving time wrong.

When it comes to quarterbacks who feel slighted, the list is long.

Although Lawrence's draft story has yet to be written, it is expected to be far different than Rodgers' or Brady's. In fact, Lawrence becoming the No. 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars is about as sure as the sun rising in the East, and it's obvious why.

In his three seasons at Clemson, Lawrence threw for 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, completing 66.6% of his passes for 10,098 yards. He lost twice in his three seasons as a starter, winning 34 games ⁠— including the National Championship as a freshman.

Colin Cowherd's initial reaction to Lawrence's comments was skepticism. But as Cowherd detailed on "The Herd," he soon changed his tune.

"... my first reaction was ‘Ooh, I dunno.’ But that was Andrew Luck. That was very much Andrew Luck ... So you look at that story with Trevor Lawrence, and you go, ‘That’s a concern.’ And then I think to myself, ‘Well, why would he have a chip on his shoulder?’… Well, that’s because since he was 14, he’s been the best quarterback in the country. Nobody ever has doubted Trevor Lawrence."

Colin Cowherd talks Trevor Lawrence and whether his recent comments about not having a "chip on his shoulder" raise questions about his ability to be an all-time great QB in the NFL.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., who graded Lawrence as his fourth-best quarterback prospect since 1979, has a similar perspective.

"How can you have a chip? Who are you trying to prove wrong? Everybody loves ya, OK? You're on top."

Lawrence also said he thinks being singularly focused on football or proving people wrong is detrimental. 

"I think that’s unhealthy to a certain extent, just always thinking that you’ve got to prove somebody wrong, you’ve got to do more, you’ve got to be better," Lawrence said to SI.

Even so, Nick Wright of "First Things First" said he wouldn't mind a little bit of extra fire from the 21-year-old quarterback.

"All the exact type of things you would desperately want to hear if Trevor Lawrence was your son, was your friend, was your fiancé, was your brother," he said of Lawrence's comments. "And if we are being honest, none of the things you want to hear if Trevor Lawrence is your quarterback. ... I applaud him for that ... I don't think that's necessarily the greatest approach if you want to be the greatest."

On April 29, Lawrence will hear his name called at the draft, and his NFL career will officially start.

While there won't be a chip on his shoulder, there will be a mountain of expectations for the presumptive No. 1 overall pick.

Whether he meets those expectations could render these comments meaningless or momentous.

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