One of the assets the New York Giants gained from the Odell Beckham Jr. trade was the 17th overall pick in 2019. That selection was used on defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, Who has quietly developed into one of the Giants’ most integral pieces on defense.
As a primary run stopper, Lawrence saw his statistics expand last season, posting 53 combined tackles, 10 QB hits, 4.0 sacks, and posted a 3.6% missed tackle rate over 16 games. The craziest part about his statistical output is that he accrued significantly better numbers on nearly 50 fewer snaps compared to his rookie season. That is a clear indication that Lawrence took a big step forward in his game under Patrick Graham, similar to a number of fellow teammates on defense.
The New York Giants are expecting big things from Sexy Dexy:
However, with Dalvin Tomlinson leaving in free agency and signing with Minnesota, Lawrence will be expected to move around the interior, featuring at nose tackle at times but also dominating in the 3-tech. Out of any player in the trenches, Lawrence could be the one with the most potential, despite Leonard Williams posting 11.5 sacks last season. As a 6’4″, 342-pound lineman, he is primed for a breakout season they could land him on the Pro Bowl team.
As one of the most athletic defensive linemen in the NFL, he moves surprisingly quickly for his size, helping him rack up impressive numbers in essential categories at his position. He finished 16th among 85 qualifying defensive tackles in terms of overall grade, per PFF. He ranked 4th among DTs with 33 stops, which constitutes stopping a positive play for the offense.
The Giants are heavily relying on him to lock down one side of the field, as Graham continues to rely on his 3-4 base defense. This upcoming season, though, the Giants will likely utilize a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, which operates with three interior defenders, three linebackers, and five defensive backs. This puts a lot of pressure on the interior pass rush to get the job done, but Graham will likely rotate outside linebackers to help aid the pass rush.
Lawrence, though, is one of the low-key talents that makes an impact on every play, whether it be soaking up double teams, allowing his teammates to thrive, or bursting through blockers to force running back’s to make premature decisions. Whether it be the slightest impact, he was quietly one of the Giants’ best players last season, and I fully anticipate he will become a much more flashy player this upcoming campaign.