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2019 NFL Draft: Scouting Clemson defensive tackle, Dexter Lawrence

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Broncos need a true nose tackle and Lawrence is a perfect fit.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft is former Clemson defensive tackle, Dexter Lawrence. He is a 6’4”, 342lb defensive tackle who is considered the top true nose tackle in the draft. Lawrence is ranked as the seventh-best defensive tackle in the 2018 NFL Draft according to The Draft Network and is ranked as the 45th best player in the entire draft.

NFL Network’s lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah ranks Lawrence as his 25th best player in the entire draft in his latest top 50 list.

Lawrence is a hulking defensive tackle at 6-4 and 342 pounds. As a pass rusher, he primarily relies on his strength and power to push the pocket. He does have impressive foot quickness and occasionally flashes a nifty swim move. However, he didn’t get many opportunities, because Clemson brought in more explosive rushers in obvious passing situations. He is a dominant run defender. He easily stacks single blocks on the front side and refuses to be cut off on the back side. Teams will need to investigate the suspension for a failed test for performance-enhancing drugs that kept Lawrence out of the College Football Playoff. Overall, Lawrence will be an immediate force against the run, and I believe he has the potential to develop into more than a pocket pusher in the passing game.

Lawrence played a total of three seasons at Clemson and was a big piece of their dominant defensive line during his time there. During his three-year career at Clemson, Lawrence totaled 162 tackles, 29 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks, 1 interception, 5 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble. This past season, Lawrence totaled 36 tackles, 7 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.

Here is a blurb on the accolades that Dexter Lawrence earned during his time at Clemson via ClemsonTigers.com.

“Declared for the NFL Draft after completing his Clemson career with 162 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 43 quarterback pressures, five pass breakups, a caused fumble and three recovered fumbles in 1,541 snaps over 40 games (36 starts) … first-team All-American who was also a three-time All-ACC selection”

Dexter Lawrence

Defensive tackle | Junior | Clemson

Height: 6’4” | Weight: 342lbs | 40-time: 5.05 seconds

Arm length: 34 3/4” | Hands: 10 1/2” | Bench Press: 36 reps

Film Room:

Scouting Report:

Strengths:

  • A large and powerful human
  • Massive frame with long arms
  • Athletic for a man of his size
  • True space and blocker eater
  • Very good run defender
  • Anchors well and is very rarely moved backwards
  • Uses his long arms and strength to disengage from blockers
  • Good short area quickness
  • Reliable tackler who brings you down if he gets his mits on you
  • Uses long arms to disrupt passing lanes
  • Not a big-time pass rusher but does collapse the pocket with a powerful bull rush
  • Will keep bodies off your free roaming linebackers

Weaknesses:

  • Never lived up to his big expectations in college
  • Was suspended for testing positive for PEDs but could have been Clemson’s fault*
  • Technique is lacking
  • Not a great pass rusher but you’re not drafting him to rush the passer

Mockdraftable Spider Graph:

Quotable:

The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs on defensive tackle, Dexter Lawrence.

“Dexter Lawrence is an obvious fit as a true nose tackle in the NFL. His value as a run defender is tremendous and should lend itself very well to an immediate role in the NFL. That said, his ceiling will be capped by modest pass rushing skills. Look for Lawrence to be a fixture on passing downs and still generate a fair amount of rush production with his size/strength and ability to push the pocket and collapse as a bull rusher. Day one starter.”

Does nose tackle Dexter Lawrence make sense for the Denver Broncos?

He fits perfectly.

In Vic Fangio’s past two coaching stops, he has had a big true nose tackle on his team. With the 49ers he had Isaac Soppaga who was listed at 6’2”, 330lbs in the middle of that defense. In his last stop with the Chicago Bears, they selected big Eddie Goldman in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. So it is quite possible that Fangio could persuade Broncos General Manager John Elway into selecting Lawrence in the second round as well.

The Broncos currently lack a true nose tackle right now, but do have Shelby Harris would could play there, so this might not be an early round need. However, someone like Lawrence is an instant starter/impact player for the Broncos defense. His size and ability would also allow the Broncos inside linebackers(possibly even Devin Bush) to roam freely and make plays,

His ability to collapse the pocket would also benefit the Broncos and their defense. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb coming off the edge makes the opposing teams quarterback to step up in the pocket. Having someone to collapse that pocket or make sure the quarterback cannot step up in said pocket would also be a nice added addition to the Broncos front seven.

Personally, I see the Broncos going nose tackle later in the draft, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they considered and selected Lawrence in the second round.

Poll

Do you want the Broncos to draft NT Dexter Lawrence in the second-round of the 2019 NFL Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    Yes
    (192 votes)
  • 23%
    No
    (59 votes)
251 votes total Vote Now