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Joe Douglas got an up-close look Friday at what the Jets can’t have.
The Jets general manager was in attendance as quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw 52 passes during a hastily arranged workout for NFL personnel inside the practice bubble at Clemson. But Douglas didn’t have the best view in the house.
Newly hired Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney were joined at the hip for most of the workout, including standing at midfield about 15 yards away from the consensus best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck in 2013 while others were idling on the sideline.
“Yeah, I saw him,” a smirking Lawrence said of Meyer on ACC Network. “Just waved at him real quick. Can’t really communicate out here.”
Even with the benefit of the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jets were reduced to due diligence on Lawrence – just like most of the 17 NFL teams who sent 31 representatives, according to Sports Illustrated. The Jets sent three and the Giants sent two scouts, and both receiver-needy teams surely had eyes on one of Lawrence’s workout partners – projected second- or third-round pick Cornell Powell.
Free-agent receiver Caleb Scott — a 2018 Vanderbilt product who has had time with the Seahawks and Packers — also flashed with a diving catch of a Lawrence deep ball.
The Jaguars hold the No. 1 pick and league sources tell The Post that a primary draw to lure Meyer out of retirement was the opportunity to coach Lawrence. Meyer’s final season as head coach at Ohio State was in 2018, when Lawrence led Clemson to the College Football Playoff title as a true freshman. Meyer heaped praise on Lawrence in his two years as a television analyst.
Lawrence is scheduled to undergo surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, so he arranged an individual workout at Meyer’s suggestion rather than waiting until Clemson’s regularly scheduled Pro Day (March 11). Meyer told NFL Network he discussed three options with Lawrence: Wait until March 11 and risk rehab running into training camp, skip Pro Day and let his college resume speak or …
“I said, ‘Why don’t you just go grab a ball and throw for a little bit?’’” Meyer said. “And he said, ‘Let’s go.’ That was it. Next thing I know, we’re here at a Pro Day that they put together. That’s a guy that loves football and is confident in his ability.”
With the NFL Combine significantly altered by COVID-19 restrictions, all in-person pre-draft workouts this year are to be held on college campuses. Lawrence is training with Jordan Palmer, the former NFL quarterback who mentors many of the top picks each season, including the Jets’ Sam Darnold. They were only two weeks into their plan when the workout date changed.
“Just to show I’m no different than anybody else,” Lawrence said. “I still want to do the process the right way.
“It’s not like the original plan – to have two months training out in California, then come back March 11 and put on a show. But life happens sometimes. Showing I’m able to adjust and still willing to come out here and throw and give teams a chance to see me was important to me.”
Lawrence checked all the important measurement boxes: 6-foot-5 5/8 inches tall, 213 pounds, and 10-inch hands.
“Roughly … I think I can start throwing 6-8 weeks after the surgery and looking at 4-5 month full clearance,” Lawrence said. “I’ll be able to do stuff before then. It shouldn’t be too bad. Just have to rehab really hard. I’m excited to get that fixed and start that road to getting healthy.”
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