The Jaguars, owners of an NFL-worst 1-15 record in 2020, seem all but certain to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 pick in April’s draft. The Heisman runner-up is seen by many as the most coveted quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012.
However, one all-time great apparently isn’t sold on Lawrence. Hall-of-Fame quarterback Brett Favre, a three-time league MVP who ranks fourth all-time in both touchdown passes (508) and career passing yards (71,838), believes Jacksonville would be better served drafting DeVonta Smith at No. 1.
“I would take DeVonta Smith,” the Packers legend told TMZ. “This guy could be a Jerry Rice. A Randy Moss. A total game-changer.”
The SEC’s all-time leader in receiving yards with 3,965, Smith is coming off a truly preposterous season in Tuscaloosa. The 22-year-old delivered 12 catches (all in the first half) for 215 yards and a trio of touchdowns in Alabama’s National Championship rout of Ohio State earlier this month, which came days after Smith received the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first receiver to claim the award in almost 30 years. As dominant as Smith was over his four-year span at Alabama, only three receivers in the sport’s history—Dave Parks (1964), Irving Fryar (1984) and Keyshawn Johnson (1996)—have ever been drafted first overall.
“Jacksonville, in my opinion, I don’t know if quarterback is their immediate need,” argued Favre, conveniently ignoring Lawrence’s 34 victories in 36 career starts at Clemson. “Nothing against Trevor Lawrence, but I think you can find a free agent guy or a guy in the latter rounds or mid-rounds in the draft."
That’s where Favre’s argument collapses on itself. Sure, a handful of mid and late-round quarterbacks have seen success at the NFL level (Tom Brady, for instance), though of the six quarterbacks represented in this year’s Pro Bowl, only Russell Wilson was drafted after the first round. By comparison, six of the eight Pro Bowl receivers in 2020 were drafted outside the top 32 including fifth-rounders Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill.
Favre’s assertion that quarterback isn’t an “immediate need” for Jacksonville also makes little sense. Between Gardner Minshew, Mike Glennon and Jake Luton, the Jags were one of the least-effective passing units in football this season, ranking near the bottom of the league in a wide variety of categories including completion percentage (62.8, fifth-worst), yards per attempt (6.4, sixth-worst) and quarterback rating (83.9, seventh-worst).
There are plenty of others who are high on Smith—ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith would welcome the Jets drafting him second overall—though in all likelihood, Trevor Lawrence will be a Jacksonville Jaguar come April 29th at about 8 PM ET.