STEPHEN A. Smith has never been afraid to speak his mind, and as always, his latest book has viewers divided.
On Tuesday, the 55-year-old host of First Take on ESPN named the NFL quarterback he expects to make the biggest leap this season.
The player in question is former first-over pick and one of the most hyped college quarterbacks in recent memory, Trevor Lawrence.
The 23-year-old Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowler and former collegiate national champion had a landmark 2022 season.
Under the guidance of new head coach Doug Pederson, Lawrence and the Jaguars turned things around midway through the year, winning six of their last seven games of the regular season, 9-8.
What followed was an incredible second-half comeback win over the Los Angeles Chargers in the wildcard round of the playoffs, finishing 31-30.
And it was that performance that seems to have won Smith over.
Smith described Lawrence as “absolutely spectacular” in that second half, comparing the third-year signal caller to the Chargers’ Justin Herbert.
He continued, “I’m telling you now, Trevor Lawrence is coming.”
“We’re assuming he’s number one overall, so you can say expectations, expectations that he’s going to do that – well, he’s nailed it.”
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“You don’t see a lot of people coming down from a 27-point deficit in the first half, especially when you were the one who threw four interceptions.”
“And being able to turn things around and come back from that in the same game, I think that’s an uplifting element.”
“Especially because Doug Pederson, a Super Bowl champion head coach in Philadelphia, is currently his head coach.”
Smith concluded his argument by saying, “We don’t talk about him enough. We have to do it.”
But fans seem divided on Smith’s opinion.
One fan tweeted, “Trevor Lawrence’s third grade will go down in history.”
While another said: “The only thing he said was right.”
In comparison, another viewer commented, “Dude doesn’t know anything about Lawrence lol.”
Lawrence finished last season with 4,113 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and seventeen interceptions.
This year, he and Pederson will also have a number of new weapons to call on offense, including veteran wide receiver Calvin Ridley.