The running joke in football circles lately is that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence -- the projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft -- will decide to stay in school for his senior year rather than enter the NFL Draft and get picked by the hapless New York Jets.
That joke could turn out to be something serious.
The Jets are the NFL's only winless team at 0-7 following last Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills. They are in last place in the AFC East and and are on track to land the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
That pick has for a long time been assumed to be Lawrence, who is a junior at Clemson.
With a national championship already under his belt and as the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy this season, Lawrence has accomplished almost all there is to do in college. It would make sense for him to go pro as soon as possible, when his stock is at its highest. The 6-foot-6 signal caller has the size, arm talent, athleticism and clutch productiveness that NFL teams look for in a franchise quarterback.
The worse the Jets continue to look, however, there was some joking that Lawrence would rather play at Clemson one more year than enter the NFL Draft and subject himself to playing for the Jets.
Leading up to this week's game against Boston College, Lawrence revealed to reporters that he hasn't ruled out staying in school.
"My mindset has been that I'm going to move on," Lawrence was quoted by the Associated Press. "But who knows? There's a lot of things that could happen."
Trevor Lawrence could go No. 1 in this year or next year's NFL Draft
Whether he enters the 2021 NFL draft or the 2022 NFL draft, Lawrence will most likely be the No. 1 pick either way. Give his options, he can't be blamed for playing this smart. Some past No. 1 picks at QB whose careers were negatively impacted by going to the wrong NFL team could include Jamarcus Russell (Raiders), Tim Couch (Browns) and David Carr (Texans).
Being handed the reigns as the No. 1 NFL Draft pick and franchise QB for a team in America's largest media market has a definite appeal, but there's also a lot to not like about the Jets.
Boasting the NFL's worst offense and one of its worst defenses, the Jets need to upgrade at every position. With third-year QB Sam Darnold and second-year head coach Adam Gase both on the hot seat, the Jets could be entirely starting over in 2021, which would put their next franchise QB in a tough spot and a long uphill climb.