New York Giants: Kelvin Benjamin goes at Joe Judge, Giants players defend coach

New York Giants, Joe Judge

Kelvin Benjamin had a chance to revitalize his career as a free agent signing with the New York Giants this offseason, but that’s far from how things actually turned out. The 30 year old wide receiver ended up released, and not only missed out on a chance to play this season but also caused quite a bit of drama on the way out.

It all stems from Benjamin showing up for practice on Wednesday and apparently getting into a dispute with head coach Joe Judge over his weight. The Giants required Benjamin to cut his weight down to 251 pounds, but his weight instead increased slightly since the end of minicamp. But Benjamin claims that others in the team building had previously told him that his weight was fine, and that the weight cut was an impossible request.

“I’m like: ‘I’m trying everything I can to be here. You won’t even let me on the field to show what I can do. I played receiver at 268 [pounds] and I almost had 1,000 yards [in 2016]. So why do you want me to come back at 251 at tight end?’” Benjamin told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday.

He claims that Judge just personally doesn’t like him, and that it led to the confrontation at practice and his release.

“The day before practice, he didn’t bring all of this up. I just felt like the dude didn’t like me. Mr. Gettleman knew exactly what went down. It’s crazy how they twisting the narrative about everything like it’s a joke. They make it seem like we don’t even matter,” Benjamin said about Judge. He’d also say other things, claiming that Judge’s style won’t win a Super Bowl.

It’s not the first time Judge has been criticized for his style, but some players disagree.

New York Giants defend Joe Judge

Since the incident, several New York Giants players have been active in defending their head coach.

“He’s very intense, but I feel like he prepares us each and every day for the game. That’s his motto. That’s his mindset and it helps and it works. So for us, it gets us excited for practice,” said defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

His sentiment was echoed by cornerback James Bradberry, who has looked like one of the best corners in the league under Judge’s leadership. He spoke with the New York Daily News, and gave his take on the situation.

“It ain’t for everybody. You feel me? He’s entitled to his opinion. I definitely think Coach Judge is tough. But football is tough. There’s a lot of pressure being in our shoes, so I don’t expect him to give us our way all the time,” Bradberry stated. “A tough coach, that’s how you build structure. That’s how you build discipline.”

“It ain’t for everybody, man, ya know? It ain’t for everybody,” Bradberry would add.

It’s a sentiment that seems to follow in the footsteps of two very successful head coaches that Judge has worked under – Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Both of them have had problems with players over the years due to their strict nature, but have found tremendous success despite their style being deemed ‘not for everyone’ by many former players.

The current Giants roster, at least, seems to be all for Judge’s current style. As do the free agents who joined this offseason, many of whom specifically cited Judge as part of their reason for picking the Giants.

His style may not be for Kelvin Benjamin, but at the very least, it’s working with the group of players the Giants have now.

Coining the New York Giants’ most underrated defensive player

dexter lawrence, new york giants

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.

New York Giants: One big breakout candidate on the defensive line for the 2021 season

dexter lawrence, new york giants

One of the New York Giants’ most undervalued players is interior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, who is preparing to enter his third season at 23 years old. The 6’4″, 342-pound defender has proved to be a key cog in the interior for Big Blue alongside Leonard Williams.

Lawrence featured in 60% of defensive snaps last season, 3% less than his rookie season, but saw his statistics increase considerably.

He elevated his tackle totals from 38 to 53, earned 1.5 more sacks, and recorded more quarterback hits in nearly 50 fewer snaps. The statistical elevators are a clear indication of his quality and improvement, and the Giants expect him to be an even more important factor in their defense moving forward.

With Dalvin Tomlinson signing with the Minnesota Vikings this off-season, Lawrence will have to fill multiple roles and ultimately features in several alignments. Lawrence has the capability to play at nose tackle over the center, 3-tech, and 4i. This gives coordinator Patrick Graham plenty of flexibility when it comes to being creative and operating with multiple outside linebackers, and utilizing stunts to confuse offensive linemen.

According to one teammate, Lawrence is a “freak of nature,” and once he gets going, he’s simply impossible to stop.

“Dexter Lawrence is another freak of nature,” Blake Martinez told the New York Post. “He basically is just a little taller, so he kind of looks a little more thinned out. We call him the ‘Juggernaut.’ As in the Marvel Comics character: He pretty much runs through anything and nothing can stop that dude.”

The New York Giants have a unique player in “Big Dexy”:

With his size, most would assume Lawrence is a traditional nose tackle, but he has the quickness and agility of an interior pass rusher that primarily features in the 3-tech, similar to Leonard Williams.

The Giants not only signed a bevy of new pass rushers to add to the interior but also bolster the secondary, signing Adoree Jackson and drafting Aaron Robinson to play a more man-coverage-based scheme. With better corners and an experienced trio of safeties, the defensive line will only benefit from these additions and contributions.

The most valuable part of Lawrence is his ability to create pressure on quarterbacks but also play the run at a high level. According to PFF, Lawrence finished with a 73.1 overall grade last season, securing a 3.8% missed tackle rate, far lower than the 11.6% he posted in 2019.

With the proper coaching and support, the Giants might have one of the best interior defenders in the league blossoming before their eyes, and a full offseason of training and chemistry building should benefit him tremendously.

New York Giants: 2 breakouts players on defense for the 2021 season

dexter lawrence, new york giants

The New York Giants are looking to re-create their identity on defense, despite having a top 10 unit in points allowed per game last season thanks to the emergence of Patrick Graham and the 2020 free-agency class. The acquisitions of James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, and Logan Ryan proved to be significant, but the defense is not done elevating their game, as they brought in former Tennessee corner Adoree Jackson and drafted a bevy of pass rushers.

We should expect a more creative defensive scheme next season, relying on man coverage and heavy blitz packages — Graham’s roots.

After minicamp last week, Graham spoke about the importance of man coverage and how it opens up the defense. There are multiple players who will benefit from this change in philosophy with added personnel that fit the scheme, in both the secondary and on the defensive line.

“I know we didn’t play a ton of man last year but we picked spots to play man. Again, like those guys last year, they did a good job of what we asked them to do. Like we mixed up more zone and then we had man in the pass. But again, I don’t know what the recipe is going to be for this year yet,” Graham said. “But I don’t want to be disrespectful of the guys that were here last year that aren’t here. I mean, Adoree’ [Jackson] brings another element, Aaron Robinson, Darnay [Holmes], they bring another element to it. Will we probably be in more man? Possibly.

Two breakout players for the New York Giants on defense:

1.) Dexter Lawrence

One impact player for the Giants on defense is third-year interior lineman Dexter Lawrence. Last season, Lawrence finished with 3.0 sacks, 6 QB hits, 21 QB hurries, and 25 tackles. He missed just 5.4% of his tackles as a dominant run stopper and oversized rusher who can get after the quarterback surprisingly well. As a 6’4″, 342-pound DL, Lawrence is mesmerizingly nimble on his feet and quick to react in the trenches.

Normally, it takes about 2-3 years for a player to realize their potential at the NFL level, and Lawrence is heading into a season where the players around him are phenomenal, and the secondary will provide him more time to put pressure on opposing QBs. In addition, having experience in Patrick Graham’s scheme will prove to be an essential factor in his success.

As an interior lineman who can feature in various alignments, including as a nose tackle, 3-4i tech, Dexter has the versatility to feature in sub-packages and as an interior rusher in a bear front (3 down lineman), and in a traditional 3-4.

However, Lawrence was utilized sparingly at times last season, playing just 60% of defensive snaps in his second year, compared to 63% in his rookie season. He enjoyed nearly 50 fewer snaps, but his production was far greater, indicating a vast improvement. He is a breakout candidate for multiple reasons, but simply based on experience and the dominance of Graham’s scheme, he will benefit the most from this strong secondary.

2.) Xavier McKinney

Another defender that could emerge as an impact player in 2021 is Xavier McKinney, who dropped to the second round in 2020 for the Giants, who managed to pluck him as the first safety off the board. The former Alabama stand-out missed half his rookie campaign due to a fractured foot he picked up during training camp, but he took massive strides forward as the season progressed. He finished with 25 combined tackles, 11 assists, one past defended, and an interception. He played just 19% of snaps, but he finished the season strong against Dallas in week 17.

In the victory, McKinney posted eight tackles, one tackle for a loss, one interception, and played 89% of snaps, a career-high over six games. His ability to transition from a single high safety look into the box and play strong safety allows Graham to get extremely creative with the young defensive back. As a superior athlete with adequate ball skills, McKinney can be used in various alignments, helping disguise the Giants 3-4 coverage scheme.

However, with a reliance on man coverage next season, we should expect McKinney to play a pivotal role in the defensive backfield, covering the seams and boundaries. McKinney is also a valiant run-stopper, helping at the second level and offering aggressiveness in that category.

Based on his season finale against Dallas, I believe his potential is sky high, and with a full off-season of in-person training and leadership from Logan Ryan, his role will increase dramatically come the start of the regular season.

Despite losing Dalvin Tomlinson, the New York Giants still have a top-tier defensive line

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants improved in many ways during the 2021 offseason. New York landed premium playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. The focus was placed mainly on the offense, but the Giants still invested resources in their defense as well.

The Giants signed Adoree’ Jackson to be their new starting outside cornerback opposite of James Bradberry. They also added talented edge rusher Azeez Ojulari in the draft. The Giants also made sure to lock up star defensive lineman Leonard Williams to a long-term deal.

These moves will all be impactful, but they were all quite costly. The Giants had to make a difficult decision and part ways with defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson this offseason. Re-signing Dalvin would have made it impossible for the Giants to upgrade the positions that they did in this offseason. However, despite the loss of Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants still have one of the most talented defensive line units in the NFL.

The Giants’ defensive line stats and highlights

Leonard Williams will return in 2021 after nearly hitting the open market this offseason. Big Cat spent the 2020 season on the franchise tag, but the Giants made sure to lock him in long-term after a career-year last season. Leonard Williams posted a career-high 11.5 sacks in his first full season with the Giants. He also made PFF’s list of top 1010 players from the 2020 season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Leonard Williams set a career-high in pressure with 62 combined sacks, hits, and hurries — seven more than his previous best. PFF also points out Leo’s typical run-defending excellence, stating that he had had 30 defensive stops in 2020.

The Giants have their top pass-rusher on the interior with Leonard Williams. But he’s not the only hog molly that can get after the quarterback. Dexter Lawrence has been a solid pass-rushing interior defensive lineman in his first two seasons, and he is only getting better. Sexy Dexy bumped his PFF pass-rush grade from 64.5 as a rookie to 73.2 last season.

Dexter Lawrence recorded 4.0 sacks, 53 combined tackles, and 6 tackles for loss in 2020. At 340 pounds, Lawrence moves quick for a man his size and also does a phenomenal job controlling the line of scrimmage, plugging holes in the run game.

With these two stud defensive lineman returning in 2021, the Giants’ defensive line is in good shape regardless of who mans the nose tackle position that Dalvin Tomlinson left vacant. Regardless, the Giants managed to add solid talent to fill Tomlinson’s shoes.

The Giants signed Danny Shelton this offseason. Shelton has been a solid, consistent run-defending nose tackle his entire career. According to PFF, Danny Shelton graded 69+ overall in 4 straight seasons from 2016-2019 before going to Detroit in 2020.

The loss of Dalvin Tomlinson will be felt on the Giants’ defense as he was a tremendous talent for them since 2017. However, the Giants still have a plethora of talent on the defensive line. The Giants should still have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL with Williams, Lawrence, and Shelton.

New York Giants: Offensive and defensive breakout candidates for 2021

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have made extensive efforts to upgrade their offense while also bolstering the defense this off-season. In free agency alone, they added several players who can help contribute toward a winning season in 2021, including the likes of Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson. With the NFL draft in less than a month, the Giants have more ammo and resources to allocate, which should help some of their individual players improve in the near future.

Take a look at breakout candidates for the New York Giants:

Offensive breakout candidate: Daniel Jones

If there’s any player that desperately needs a breakout season, it is quarterback Daniel Jones. After posting 24 touchdowns in his rookie season, Jones saw that number slash by more than half to just 11 under Jason Garrett. Unfortunately, he didn’t have Saquon Barkley and a plethora of playmakers, but the Giants are looking to give him everything he needs to succeed moving forward.

Adding Golladay, a bonafide wide receiver one, and John Ross, we should expect Jones to play a bit more efficiently. In addition, he will have a healthy Saquon Barkley, and the Giants could use the 11th overall pick on another play-maker.

Ultimately, there is no excuse for Jones not to have a better 2021 performance, and the Giants desperately need to see improvement if they want to commit to him as their franchise quarterback moving forward. Looking at a bit more of his statistical output, Jones is deadly accurate when throwing the ball downfield. I expect the Giants to take a more vertical approach to their offense, which is what sold Golladay on joining Big Blue, and the presence of Ross also suggests a more vertical strategy.

When throwing the ball 20+ yards downfield, Jones threw six touchdowns and zero interceptions, so adding more deep threats is exactly what the Giants set out to do, and they accomplish that goal in free agency.

Defensive breakout candidate: Dexter Lawrence

One player I believe will have a stand-out 2021 season is Dexter Lawrence, and with the absence of Dalvin Tomlinson after signing with the Minnesota Vikings, the Giants need Big Dexy to take a step forward.

Last season, Lawrence finished with 37 tackles, four sacks, and 33 stops. He was one of the most double-teamed interior defenders in the NFL, and with two seasons under his belt, a year-three breakout season should be expected.

I believe his knowledge of Patrick Graham’s scheme and the retention of Leonard Williams should assist in his production, and I think the Giants want to see him take more of a pass rusher role from the 3-tech position, where he can pressure the interior and get after the quarterback adequately.

3 New York Giants players primed to make big jumps in 2021

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants’ defense surprised everybody in 2020, ranking ninth in points allowed per game with 22.3. In rushing yards allowed, they were a top 10 unit but struggled in defending the pass until the second half of the year, ending up average, allowing 237.9 yards.

The injection of essential free agents completely overhauled the unit, along with Leonard Williams, who produced 11.5 sacks. Cornerback James Bradberry, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, had his best season to date, allowing 50+ yards just twice over the course of the entire season. He allowed three touchdowns, two of which came in week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, it was some of the rookies and youngsters that played a significant part, and some fresh faces are primed to take a significant jump in 2021.

Three New York Giants players primed to take big jumps in 2021:

1.) Dexter Lawrence

Lawrence is going into his third season in the NFL, and he took a big jump last year with the Giants. Alongside Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson, who both had career seasons, Lawrence nearly doubled his sack totals from 2.5 to 4.0. He also totaled 10 QB hits and six tackles for loss. His combined tackles number went up from 38 to 53 over just 60% of defensive snaps, a decrease of 3%.

Lawrence was double-teamed more than either of his counterparts and ranked near the top of the league in the category as well. He recorded 33 stops, 19 hurries, and just two missed tackles all season long.

With his growth, I expect him to take a nice jump in 2021, especially if the Giants retain both of their interior lineman who are hitting free agency. If all goes well, Dexter is in line to become a staple in the trenches.

2.) Xavier McKinney

Xavier McKinney missed a majority of his rookie season with a fractured foot which occurred during training camp. However, he returned in the second half of the year to post some quality numbers to finish the season.

In week 17 against Dallas, he recorded eight combined tackles, one tackle for a loss, one pass defended, and one interception. He was all over the field making plays, at one point bursting through a TE to take down CeeDee Lamb in the backfield. With that impressive performance, the Giants must feel confident he can take a step forward in 2021.

Based on the fact that McKinney came from a pro-style defense with Alabama, his transition to the NFL was never expected to take long. It seemed as if he finally settled down against Dallas to finish the campaign, so I expect that to translate over to next year.

3.) Darnay Holmes

While rookie slot corner Darnay Holmes suffered through m injuries as well, he didn’t allow a touchdown the entire season, the only starting rookie corner to do so.

In addition, he allowed 30 yards or less in six appearances but did have some struggles toward the end of the campaign. A lingering injury hurt his efficiency, posting four penalties in his last four starts. With a superior mentality and NFL genetics, Holmes has the ability to become a stellar corner in the NFL, but he must remain healthy moving forward.

New York Giants: One pair of defenders is excelling in PFF statistics

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

While the season has been a mixed bag so far for the New York Giants, some players on defense have definitely flourished under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Some of these players were on the roster last season but have stepped their game up with a different system and better coaching. Others are new arrivals who have made an instant impact and helped the Giants turn it around over the past couple of weeks.

Two players in specific are worth praising as they’ve made themselves stand out on the field and in the statistics columns.

Dexter Lawrence

Dexter Lawrence came into the league at the same time as Daniel Jones and is already on his second defensive coordinator in the second year of his career. But it looks like Graham is bringing out better things in him than James Bettcher. He’s already set to surpass his statistics from his rookie season. He had 38 combined tackles after playing in every game last year. This year, after only playing in 10 games so far, he already has 33.

Lawrence already has more tackles for a loss than he had last year, and only three less quarterback hits. And when it comes to PFF grade, which accounts for a number of factors, Lawrence is currently one of the highest rated sophomore defenders.

The Giants picked up Lawrence in the draft not long after moving on from Damon Harrison and it looks like they made the right choice. Harrison had the worst statistical season of his career after leaving the Giants, and has already changed teams to the Seahawks. Lawrence, on the other hand, still looks like he has room to move up.

James Bradberry

The signing of James Bradberry was met with varying reactions from interest to skepticism, after the Giants brought in the former Carolina corner to replace Janoris Jenkins. The Giants have missed at evaluating cornerbacks a number of times in recent memory. If you want proof of that, just look at their results after drafting Eli Apple and DeAndre Baker in the first round. Even when they brought in Janoris Jenkins, the Giants found a corner that was effective but would ultimately talk himself off the team with his attitude.

But those situations haven’t repeated themselves with James Bradberry. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. Bradberry looks like the most likely player on the Giants defense to make the Pro Bowl or All-Pro team and has been worth the money so far. He has 3 interceptions so far, tying his career record, and also has 14 passes defended.

According to PFF, he leads the league this season when it comes to forced incompletions.

With six games left in the season still, there’s room for both Bradberry and Lawrence to further improve in their statistics. And it looks like both players are on pace for career highs in some of the most important areas. The Giants haven’t hit every time they’ve taken a swing at acquiring players. But this season, it does seem they have more hits than usual. Especially on defense, where the rebuilding process is finally showing some result.

New York Giants: Silver Linings From Week One vs Pittsburgh

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants suffered a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last night. After getting off to a good start, the Giants squandered their lead and ultimately lost the game by two possessions. The final score was 26-16.

Despite this loss, there was plenty to like about the Giants’ performance in Week One. Some Solid performances on both sides of the football can encourage Giants fans heading into the second week of the season.

The Silver Linings

Daniel Jones

The Giants’ second-year quarterback, Daniel Jones, played a great game on Monday night. However, he did turn the ball over twice, and it cost the Giants big-time. But outside of those two turnovers, Jones was impressive as can be in Week One.

The Steelers possess one of the best defenses in the NFL. Their run-defense and pass-rush were elite last night. The Steelers held Saquon Barkley to 6 rushing yards and pressured Daniel Jones on 26 of his passing attempts. Jones was pressured 6 times more than any other quarterback in the NFL in Week One.

Despite having pressure in his face constantly, and despite not having a solid run game to rely on, Daniel Jones stood in the pocket and made some of the best throws of his career. Jones totaled 279 yards and 2 touchdown passes on 26 attempts.

Jones was particularly good when targeting the middle of the field. When targeting the middle, Jones completed 13 of his 15 passing attempts for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones was also superb on third down and carried the Giants’ offense at times. If Jones can continue to play at this level while keeping the turnovers down and receiving more help from his offensive line, 2020 could be the year Jones establishes himself as a franchise quarterback.

The Front Seven

The Giants enjoyed multiple impressive performances in their front seven. No one was more impressive than newly-signed inside linebacker Blake Martinez. Martinez recorded 11 tackles (tied for the most of all linebackers in Week One) en route to an 83.9 overall grade by Pro Football Focus. Blake Martinez played like one of the best linebackers in the NFL in Week One.

Lorenzo Carter also had one of the best games of his career on Monday night. Carter recorded 3 pressures, nearly had a sack, and earned an 81.5 overall PFF grade this week. His 3 pressures were tied for the team lead along with Leonard Williams, another player who had an impressive performance.

Leonard Williams recorded a sack and 3 pressures in Week One. Another interior defensive lineman also recorded a sack, though. Dexter Lawrence, the big hog molly out of Clemson started his second season off on the right track, earning a sack in an impressive performance.

The Giants’ defense was most impressive in Week One. The front seven was excellent, seeing multiple players have some of the best individual performances of their careers. This was especially important as the defensive secondary struggled to contain Ben Roethlisberger and his playmakers. The Giants will want to see their front seven build off of an impressive performance in Week Two, while also hoping to see some improvement from their young and inexperienced secondary.

New York Giants: Good Camp So Far For Dexter Lawrence

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants should have better talent on the defensive front this year. That’s a matter of them simply having more experience and added talent compared to last year. The pass rush should be better with Markus Golden returning and Kyler Fackrell joining, but don’t forget about what the Giants have in the middle.

Specifically, don’t forget about Dexter Lawrence. The second year lineman is improving since last season according to Joe Judge, who spoke on his camp performance on Friday.

Dexter Lawrence earns praise from Joe Judge

“I think Dex had a really nice camp. He’s a guy that came in really good shape, really ready to go. He’s done a really good job working with [Sean] Spence[r] and working on some of the pass rushing stuff,” Judge said when asked about his thoughts on Lawrence’s game and improvements. “But really where he’s improved this year a lot is his ability to build that wall and anchor in the run game, and really help us get them to a third down situation.”

It’s another mention of third down. It appears to be an important down for the Giants this year. Kyler Fackrell also spoke of third downs recently, saying it will be a ‘fun down’ this year. And Lawrence might play a part in getting the opposing team to third down in the first place through stuffing the run and pressuring the quarterback.

“He has a good knack for getting his hand up at the right time and batting the ball down,” Judge said about Lawrence’s ability to knock down passes at the line.

“A lot of that comes into just his instincts. But he’s also got that good length where he can really keep extension off the offensive line and see through them to when the quarterback is in a rhythm of throwing the ball, he gets his hand up at the right time.”

Last season, Lawrence had a decent run as a rookie player with 38 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He started every game, which is expected to continue into this season as Lawrence is unchallenged at his spot by others on the depth chart.

And so far, it looks like there’s good reason to be optimistic about his play.