Dexter Lawrence has heard the chatter about him being a two-down player and how he was a reach pick in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.
But Lawrence really doesn’t give it much credence and is set to establish his own identity, no matter what the chatter might say.
Bob Papa, Carl Banks and David Diehl break down the Giants' choice of Dexter Lawrence with the 17th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The knock on Lawrence is that he is primarily a run-stopper and doesn’t necessarily get to the quarterback.
He had 44 tackles last year, including 7.5 tackles for a loss, but had just 1.5 sacks. He did get to the quarterback plenty during his career, boasting 11 sacks in his three years at Clemson.
Lawrence wants everyone to know he is more than a one-dimensional interior lineman.
“I’m definitely underrated,” Lawrence said during rookie minicamp. “It’s kind of on me to prove myself, right? I’ve always been able to collapse the pocket, now I’m focused on escaping blocks or finishing the plays and things like that.”
His resume is strong, including playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in high school, being a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (given to the NCAA’s best defensive player) in 2017 and then being a First-Team All-American pick by the AFCA. Now with the Giants, there is the chance for him to step on the field instantly.
The Giants had a serious need in the middle of their defensive line heading into the draft, a glaring issue after they moved nose tackle Damon Harrison in a trade midway through last season. Lawrence will be expected to step in immediately and provide a big presence in the interior of the line.
Though he was a consensus first-round pick in nearly every mock draft, it was a surprise to see the Giants use their No. 17 pick on Lawrence. But his build and athleticism reminds many of the aforementioned Harrison, who has been one of the best defensive tackles in the league over the past four seasons.
The New York Giants selected Dexter Lawrence out of Clemson with the 17th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Amanda Pugliese and Kristian Dyer talk about the upside of the pick.
Lawrence said during the draft process that he sensed the Giants might have interest and that they were one of four teams he figured were in the mix.
At the NFL Combine, Lawrence measured in at 6-foot-4-inches and 342 lbs. He is quick and athletic for a player of his size.
“The first thing that jumps out about Dexter is he’s a pretty big man,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s a guy that can play the run and rush the passer. When you pick a guy from Clemson, and he’s played on the biggest stage there is in college football… this isn’t going to be too big for him. We’re looking forward to getting him going.”
Pat Shurmur speaks to the media and shares his thoughts on Daniel Jones, Dexter Lawrence and DeAndre Baker.