Jaguars open NFL draft, Meyer era by drafting Lawrence

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FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence greets fans as he arrives for the team's NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are expected to be the top two picks selected in the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 29, 20212, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro, File)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars waited more than four months to make the easiest and maybe most significant pick in franchise history.

As obvious as it was, fireworks and frivolity followed.

A sold-out draft party that included 8,000 fans celebrated wildly as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped to the podium and announced Trevor Lawrence's name as the first pick in the draft Thursday night.

The Clemson star had a more subdued reaction in Seneca, South Carolina — probably because he knew, like everyone else, that he would be the first pick in the NFL draft.

“It was just a kind of a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Lawrence said. "I’m going to do everything in my power to get us back to where we need to be. I’m going to put in the work. No one’s going to work harder than me.”

The Jags added one of Lawrence's college teammates, standout running back Travis Etienne, with the 25th pick in the first round. The move pairs two of the most productive players in Clemson history as centerpieces of coach Urban Meyer's offense.

“I don't have to get to work on getting to know somebody else,” Etienne said. “I know Trevor inside and out.”

Lawrence and Etienne became the first QB-RB combination from the same school to go in the first round of the same draft in the modern era, according to the NFL. Together, they should help Jacksonville improve an offense that ranked last in the NFL in 2020 with just 16 explosive plays.