Dexter Lawrence is a mammoth of a man. At 6’4″ and 342 pounds, he swallows interior offensive lineman. Long arms and big strong hands allows him to manhandle people.
He’s a great 3-4 nose tackle that can stuff the run and can push the middle of the pocket. Lawrence came in as a highly regarded recruit and left as a two-time National Champion. Could this mountain of a man be what the Los Angeles Rams need in order to free Aaron Donald from double teams?
College stats and honors:
2018: 36 tackles, 15 solo, 7 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery.
Career: 131 tackles, 50 solo, 18 for loss, 10 sacks, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble.
Honors: 1st team All-American (2018), 1st team All-ACC (2018), 2nd team All-American (2017), 1st team All-ACC (2017), Freshman All-American (2016), ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year (2016), 2nd team All-ACC (2016), Academic All-ACC (2016)
Lawrence is a big, strong nose tackle. He posted 36 reps on the bench press during the NFL Combine. He is extremely athletic for his size. Lawrence utilizes his size to his advantage, making nearly impossible for offensive linemen to move.
He commands double teams, which frees up others in the front seven. Lawrence is a good read-and-react tackle who can quickly shed blockers once he sniffs out the ball carrier. His size and length allows him to bat passes at the line of scrimmage and affects throwing lanes.
Lawrence possess an extremely effective bull rush and shows an ability to collapse the interior of the pocket. I’ve also seen Lawrence display a solid spin move. He generally dominates the line of scrimmage and has thrown smaller linemen straight into the ball carrier. He possesses good awareness and can sniff out screen plays. Teams try to avoid running his direction for a good reason. He takes good angles in pursuit of the ball.
Although Lawrence has a nasty bull rush, he needs to develop some more pass rush moves. He needs to work on his hand usage as well. Sometimes relies on brute strength over technique which can bite him in the NFL. The NFL level will demand him to learn technique because these are elite offensive linemen.
Lawrence’s production didn’t match up after his eye-popping freshman campaign. He was suspended for the National Championship in 2019 for performance enhancing substances. He can play too high at times allowing linemen to get into his chest. Lawrence is strictly a nose tackle in a 3-4, which devalues him some.
Expected Draft round:
It depends largely on interviews and team fit for Lawrence. Even as a nose tackle, he possesses top five talent. But questions surrounding production and performance enhancing substances along with a strict position/scheme fit limit his draft status some.
I expect Lawrence to be taken somewhere late in round one or early in round two. His talent cannot be ignored. Whoever unlocks his potential could have a seriously deadly weapon in the middle of their defense. It depends on who else is available at 31 but if Lawrence is the pick, I won’t be upset in the least bit.
Linval Joseph, Dontari Poe