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New York Giants Off the Clock: First-Round Pick Nose Tackle Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
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20 May 2019 01:32 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: New York Giants first-round pick Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. (Image Source: Noah K. Murray/Getty Images)

The New York Giants had 10 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, including three first-round selections. As we take the Giants “Off the Clock,” we’ll breakdown all 10 of their draft picks, continuing with the second of their three first-round choices:

Round 1; Pick 17 (17th Overall): NT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

NY Giants Checklist: Offense | Defense | Daniel Jones |

Measurables: The Clemson product is a massive man. Lawrence measures out at 6’ 4 ½” and 342 pounds with an 84” wingspan, 34 ¾” arms, and 10 ½” hands. He stands out even among NFL interior linemen. As you would imagine a man this big is strong as well and Lawrence is. At the NFL Scouting Combine he impressed with 36 bench-press reps, which led all defenders and was second overall among all prospects invited to Indianapolis. It should also come as no surprise that Lawrence ran a slow 40 time (5.05).

Skill Set: Putting that tremendous size to use, Lawrence is a space eater in the middle of a defense. Not just a plugger, he can occupy multiple blockers and hold his own in the trenches. He’s an anchor and tough to handle one-on-one. Overpowering, Lawrence also has very good quickness. Not quite there, the Tiger has flashed some pass-rush potential. Even if he doesn’t get all the way to the quarterback, the D-tackle is disruptive with his ability to bull rush up the middle.   

Value: He was solidified as a first-round pick and this was in the range that most had Lawrence going. Not a steal but not a reach by any stretch. The G-Men got excellent value with the hands-down top nose tackle prospect in this class. Because New York plays a 3-4 defense, Lawrence probably has more value to them than a team that employs a 4-3 scheme.

Need: New York needed one more piece to complete their defensive line restructure. With their season going down the tubes, the Giants traded Damon Harrison to the Detroit Lions seven games into the 2018 campaign. That created a big hole in the middle of their D-line which this selection filled.

Mogollon’s Pick: Over the past two offseasons, the Giants added tackle Nate Solder (free agency), guard Will Hernandez (draft), and guard Kevin Zeitler (trade) leaving right tackle as a weak link. I would have completed the rebuild by drafting Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard, who would have been able to step in and compete for a starting role from Day 1. The Eagles first-round pick (No. 22) has the size and athleticism to handle the duties of pass protection.

Off the Clock (Rd. 1): 1-4, 5-8, 9-14, 15-20, 21-26, 27-32 | Defensive ROY Odds | NY Jets Draft Checklist: Offense | Defense | Off The Clock: Quinnen Williams | Jachai Polite | Chuma Edoga | Trevon Wesco | Blake Cashman | Blessuan Austin | 2020 Draft: No. 1 Pick Odds

Who Else Did They Pass Up? In terms of interior linemen, Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons (No. 19) was rated higher than Lawrence but also had extra baggage. Another former Bulldog, Montez Sweat (No. 26), could have answered New York’s need for an edge rusher. How about Marquise Brown (No. 25) out of Oklahoma? After they selected a quarterback with their first pick why not give him a weapon to develop with.

The Fit: It’s an ideal fit for James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense. Lawrence has the massive size required to play in the middle and the athleticism to be an impact nose man. With his ability to control the “A” gaps, he fits the exact prototype for what the Giants need in the anchor of their defensive line. His ability to occupy will give the inside linebackers the space they need to maneuver.

2019 Outlook & Beyond: Over the past two drafts they selected Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill, who are better suited to play end in this scheme and were drafted with playing alongside the aforementioned Damon Harrison in mind. Lawrence is expected to replace Harrison, possibly as soon as this season. Ideally, he’ll win the starting job at the nose which will allow Tomlinson to shift back to end. That’s if the rookie is ready. If not, he’ll likely backup Tomlinson in the middle for this season (with Olsen Pierre at end). Long term, the G-Men envision Lawrence as the centerpiece of their defense, flanked by Tomlinson and Hill. Potentially one of the stoutest defensive fronts in the league.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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