Now that Dexter Lawrence has been drafted by the New York Giants at the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tenn., here's a look at what fans need to know about the 6'4", 342-pound Clemson defensive tackle.
Lawrence is massive and athletic, capable of singlehandedly upgrading a run defense. He has the power to match the girth, capable of collapsing the middle of the offensive line and occupying multiple blockers. He can line up as a 0-technique or as a nose shade, with the initial burst to cause problems in the A-gaps for offenses. While he’s not Aaron Donald, he is shockingly quick and light on his feet for his size, and his active hands suggest he could have some value in the pass rush.
In a league where the most run-heavy team still throws half the time, not everyone will value Lawrence’s most valuable traits. He came off the field often in obvious passing downs. He’ll also have to answer questions about a PED suspension that kept him out of last year’s College Football Playoff.
He’s a bit like this year’s Vita Vea, offering promising elite run-stopping abilities but potentially little as a pass rusher. You could argue that Lawrence showed much more as a pass rusher in college than Vea did, and the team taking him can be rightfully optimistic about an occasional third down impact.