Round 1, Pick 32: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
“OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.”
That’s the warning label that most likely materialized on the inside of any offensive lineman’s helmet who was unlucky enough to stare down 6’4, 350-lb defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence across the line of scrimmage last season.
Once ranked the No. 2 overall recruit entering college football in 2016, Lawrence set a Clemson record after notching five sacks as a true freshman. He also added 55 tackles during the Tigers’ 12-game regular season, before having an additional seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in two playoff games that season.
His numbers dipped a bit his sophomore and junior seasons as the Tigers spread the wealth around the top defensive line in the country. Presumably, his draft stock also took a hit when he was forced to miss the 2019 College Football Playoff because of a positive drug test.
Lawrence is more than just a terrific physical specimen at defensive tackle though – he’s also versatile enough to play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme, something Bill Belichick surely values in his players. He could step in immediately alongside Lawrence Guy to fill the void left by Malcom Brown, who left for the New Orleans Saints in free agency.
A game-wrecker equally suited to run-stuffing as he is to pressuring the quarterback, Lawrence regularly commanded double-teams in college, and it’s not crazy to think that trend could continue at the professional level. If he’s still available when the Patriots pick last on Day 1, they’d be fools to pass him up.