Atlanta Falcons Potential First Round Pick: Dexter Lawrence

Atlanta Falcons, Dexter Lawrence (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Dexter Lawrence (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Dexter Lawrence (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images) /

Dexter Lawrence made his presence felt right away at the University of Clemson. He earned playing time immediately, playing in 14 games and starting 12. He registered an impressive 62 tackles as a freshman, 8.5 of those tackles resulted in a loss of yardage for the opponent. Incredibly for a man his size, the 340 plus pound defensive tackle accumulated 6.5 sacks in 2016. That number was enough to set a new Clemson freshman record. Dexter also knocked down a pass and recovered two fumbles. Additionally he blocked two field goal attempts.

Dexter Lawrence was a key cog for the Clemson Tigers’ defense during their 2016-17 championship run. He showed up big time in the National Title Game, making four tackles against Alabama. Lawrence received many accolades for his outstanding freshman season. The mountain of a man, was named as a Freshman All American and ACC Freshman of the year. In addition, he was also named to the ACC All Conference Second Team.

As a sophomore in 2017, Dexter Lawrence saw his statistical production decrease. One reason for the drop in production was a decrease in snaps, designed to help keep the big man fresh. Another major reason that Lawrence was not as productive in year two, is his opponents began to double team him on virtually every snap, paving the way for his teammates to make more plays. Also Dexter was dealing with a foot injury for most of the 2017 season. These factors caused Dexter’s tackle numbers to fall from 62 to 33. His tackles for a loss fell from 8.5 to 2.5 and his sacks decreased to just two. He also forced one fumble. Despite the lack of production, ACC coaches who had to include double teaming Lawrence in their game plans, recognized his value and voted him as an All ACC First Team selection.

In his junior season Dexter Lawrence saw most of his numbers rise from his sophomore season, as he learned how to better deal with double teams at the major college level. Dexter saw his tackles increase by three to 36. More importantly his tackles for a loss total shot up to seven. He also batted down a career high three passes at the line of scrimmage and recovered a fumble. The only major stat that decreased was sacks, as Lawrence had just 1.5 on the year. He was again voted All ACC First team, after helping lead Clemson to a second National Championship in three seasons. However he did not play in the College Football Playoff, due to a suspension for taking a banned substance. Following the season, Lawrence declared for the  NFL draft.

Check out these highlights of Dexter Lawrence via the ACC Digital Network YouTube channel: