The New York Giants training camp has been filled with injury news so far, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been good spots. It’s the first chance to see the team’s rookies playing in pads before the preseason and also provides the first real indications of the direction that the team is moving this season. That group of rookies includes one high profile player on the defensive line, who despite having a rookie status, will be expected to take one of the biggest roles early on.
That’s, of course, Dexter Lawrence. The Clemson rookie is coming in after a season where the Giants moved on from Damon Harrison midseason, and an offseason where Olivier Vernon was traded to the Browns. The season may come out better due to the changes, but the Giants are going to look very different regardless, and it looks like the Giants spent a first round pick on Lawrence mainly to help fill the gaps left at the position of defensive line.
But the Giants don’t have one set position for Lawrence yet, at least at this point during training camp.
“At Clemson, I was stuck inside a little bit, now Iâ€™m getting do all of it. Thereâ€™s a lot of different opportunities. I donâ€™t feel the difference. I feel comfortable all throughout the line and donâ€™t feel a difference between the positions,” Lawrence said during training camp.
While Lawrence’s main position at Clemson was defensive tackle, being a top DT in college is no guarantee of doing the same thing in the NFL. With college players generally being smaller, it’s not uncommon to see college defensive tackles moved around while entering the league.
“I was pretty much a three-down player there, too. Itâ€™s nothing new. Itâ€™s just a new scheme that I have to learn, itâ€™s all about regrouping and seeing how you can learn the defense a lot better to know how you can get after the offensive line,” Lawrence added.
The Giants have also experimented with fitting Lawrence into different schemes. “Theyâ€™re working me in in base, dime and nickel. Iâ€™m expecting to be used all three downs.”
Lawrence seems like one of the likeliest rookies on the team this year to get significant playing time – that might be a good thing considering the Giants’ recent losses over the past couple seasons at the position. We’ll see as training camp continues whether Lawrence does indeed look like a player that can be a worthy replacement of Harrison.