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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

NFL Combine Results

Dexter Lawrence attended the NFL combine and officially measured 6’4 with a weight of 342 pounds. His arms measured 34¾ inches and his hands are 10.5 inches in length. Lawrence suffered a mild calf strain at the Combine, that forced him to sit out of all of the agility drills. He did run the 40 yard dash, posting a time of 5.05 seconds. This ranked him number 16 among defensive linemen, many of which who will be defensive ends at the NFL level. Lawrence was only one one-hundredth of a second behind teammate Christian Wilkins, despite out weighting Wilkins by nearly 30 pounds.

Dexter Lawrence showcased his incredible strength during the bench press portion of the NFL Combine. He was able to lift 225 pounds an impressive 36 times during the event. This placed the defensive tackle number one among all defensive lineman. He was second among all players in this year’s Combine, trailing Weber State offensive guard Iosua Opeta by just three reps. The 36 lifts that Lawrence completed were four more than the highly touted Ed Oliver and eight more than his teammate Christian Wilkins, who is also projected to be drafted in round one. Full results of the 2019 NFL Combine can be viewed by clicking here.


Strength and power are the best attributes in the game of Dexter Lawrence. He is unable to be moved at the point of attack, when blocked one on one. He is also able to break away from any single blocker with his power and length. He possesses a powerful punch at the snap, that can knock many offensive linemen off-balance before they are able to get their footing. These traits are part of the reason that he is a tremendous run defender.

Strength isn’t the only reason that Mr. Lawrence excels in the run defense department. He also contains rare quickness and athletic ability, for a man his size. He has good footwork and plays with good leverage, often getting his pad level lower than his opponent. He holds his own against double teams, allowing his teammates to make plays. Dexter hits with more force than most large defensive tackles. As tackler once Lawrence gets a grip on the ball carrier, the chances of them escaping are slim. Dexter is much better at flowing down the line of scrimmage, than one would expect for a man who is that massive.

As a pass rusher Lawrence has a good first step for his size. He has one of the better bull rushes, among prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. He uses this move to push opponents into the backfield and then disengages to make the sack. He also does a good job of converting speed to power. His initial punch can be as overwhelming for centers and guards in the passing game, as it is in the run game.

Dexter Lawrence has a very high motor and almost never loafs or takes a play off. His combination of size and athletic abilities l,allow him the versatility to play different roles on a defensive line. He can play the nose tackle and three technique in a 3-4 defense, as well as the one and three techniques in a 4-3 defense. Playing the five technique in a 3-4 is probably a stretch. analyst Lance Zierlein compares Dexter Lawrence to former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Shaun Rodgers. Rodgers was a three-time Pro Bowl player. Check out Zierlein’s bio and scouting report on Lawrence here. Personally Lawrence reminds me of Vita Vea of the Washington Redskins, but u believe he has the ability to be a better pass rusher long-term.


The biggest con in the game of Dexter Lawrence is pass rushing. Though he posses traits to be a good rusher and has an advanced bull rush, Dexter needs to develop more counter moves, rather than relying on pure power. He also needs to improve his hand placement. Lawrence lacks the flexibility to bend around the edge. He also has a difficult time changing directions once he gets moving full speed.

Dexter Lawrence can sometimes get off-balance, taking himself out of a play. He also can get too overzealous chasing a ball carrier at times, breaking the pursuit lanes of the defense. This cold make him susceptible to counters and misdirection runs. Another thing that is slightly concerning, is the fact that Lawrence had his best college season as a freshman.

The only issue Dexter Lawrence had that could be considered a red flag for a team, is the fact that he was suspended for the College Football Playoff due to testing positive for a banded supplement. Dexter Lawrence maintains that he had no knowledge that the supplements he was taking contained the banned element. Lawrence is not shying away from questions about the violation and has vowed to tell the truth to NFL executives. Scott Keepfer of the Greenville news has the story on how Lawrence has approached NFL interviews via USA Today. To read the article click here.

The Draft Network has a comprehensive scouting report on Lawrence, co-written by experts Kyle Crabbs, Jon Ledyard and Joe Marino. Click here to read the breakdown. Kyle Crabbs gives this summary of what he expects from Dexter Lawrence at the NFL level:

"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."

Take a look at this video breakdown of Lawrence, by Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus via their YouTube channel: