Dexter Lawrence 2019 NFL Draft Profile

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Dexter Lawrence
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 01: Dexter Lawrence #90 of the Clemson Tigers reacts against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Defensive line
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 342 pounds
School: Clemson Tigers

Combine Performance Data:
40-yard dash: 5.05 seconds
Bench press: 36 reps (best among defensive linemen)

Dexter Lawrence 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Three-year Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is entering the NFL after a fantastic collegiate tenure. Lawrence finished his 2018 season as one of the best interior defensive linemen in the college landscape. Playing in 13 games, Lawrence recorded 36 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, and one interception throughout his junior season. Constantly eating up double teams, Lawrence earned 2018 All-ACC honors for his efforts. Unfortunately, Lawrence couldn’t help Clemson in the playoffs after testing positive for a banned substance.

Lawrence entered the college landscape as the envy of every organization’s eye. A five-star recruit, some were calling Lawrence the greatest prospect to ever come out of North Carolina. The Wake Forest native played up to that billing as a freshman, recording 62 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss, and 6.5 sacks. His phenomenal play earned his ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Honors and his stellar play was a big reason Clemson went on to win the National Title.

Lawrence wasn’t quite as good as a sophomore, but he was still one of the best defensive tackles in college football. Appearing in 11 games, Lawrence recorded 33 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, and two sacks. Additionally, Lawrence recorded the first forced fumble of his career. While his production and play took a dive, the sophomore was basically playing hurt for the entirety of the season.

In all, Lawrence finished his collegiate career with 131 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss, and 10 sacks. He is a two-time college football champion, a one-time ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, and a one-time member of the All-ACC team.

Strengths

  • boasts enormous size and knows how to use it;
  • constantly beats one-on-one blocking;
  • capable of taking running backs down with just an arm tackle;
  • space eater who can free up plays for other defenders;
  • elite upper body strength;
  • never pushed off his spot in the run game.

Weaknesses

  • statistical production peaked as a freshman;
  • doesn’t provide much as a pass rusher;
  • fundamentals could use some improvement;
  • overreliance on size could be a problem at the NFL level;
  • conditioning could be an issue for a player of his size;
  • ended his collegiate career with a suspension

NFL Comparison: Lawrence Guy

Teams With Need at Position: Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars

Projection: First round

Bottom Line

Lawrence is one of the best defensive linemen in a draft stacked with defensive line talent. While he’s not among the elite members of the class, Lawrence should be a day one starter in the NFL. His size and strength make him NFL worthy, and his ability to defeat one-on-one blocking and eat up double teams will earn him a regular spot on the field.

However, he has a few flaws which will cause him to fall out of the top-15. Lawrence was never able to replicate his freshman success as a pass-rusher, although he can bring pressure on occasion. Lawrence is bigger and stronger than just about everyone at the college level, and he relied on that size to win most of his matchups. Once in the NFL, he’ll need to tune up his mechanics to adjust for the added size and strength of the game.

The pros far outweigh the cons with Lawrence, especially if he can land with a good defensive line coach. Look for Lawrence to compete for a starting job right out of the gate and become one of the better defensive linemen in the league.

Main photo:
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5 COMMENTS

  1. […] If Murphy and Williams aren’t on the board, the Chiefs should address their defensive line. Kansas City couldn’t stop the run in 2018, finishing the season as 30th-ranked run defense per DVOA. Kansas City needs to find somebody capable of plugging up the interior of that defensive line, and the best player likely available is defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. […]

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