by Spiro Kasabian @nyspawtsguy_spi
In the 2019 NFL draft, the New York Giants have found their Nose Tackle of the future.
When the Giants traded Damon “Snacks” Harrison to the Lions last year, it left a huge hole in the middle of their defense. The defense suffered and they simply could not stop teams from running the ball all over them.
Enter, First-Team All-American Dexter Lawrence. The 6’4”, a 342-pound defensive tackle out of Clemson is a man amongst boys. At that size, a man should not be able to run a 5.05 40-yard dash. He is not simply a big body. The Giants have themselves an athlete at Nose Tackle that will be a difference maker against the run and will push the pocket in the passing game.
Lawrence was a dominant player on Clemson’s defense from the day he arrived at Clemson University. As a Freshman, he posted 62 tackles to go along with 6.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. He finished up his college career with 131 tackles and 10 sacks. I believe that Lawrence will be able to come close to Snacks’ run-defending ability while providing more of a pass rush in the middle. He can collapse the pocket, which is something that the Giants have been missing in recent years.
Alec Ogeltree and B.J. Goodson will love this draft pick. Lawrence can eat up double teams and will keep his linebackers clean to give them the ability to make plays. If teams try to block Lawrence with a single blocker, he will have no problem disengaging and making a play. Lawrence has enormous size and power, as evidence of his 36 bench press reps at the combine (second-most among all participants).
Dave Gettleman’s philosophy, right or wrong, was to get big men to allow them to compete. Dexter Lawrence is the living and breathing embodiment of that philosophy. Gettleman also spoke of being able to run the ball and stopping the run. The Giants were bad at stopping the run last year, ending up 20th in the league allowing 118 yards rushing a game. Lawrence will be a key factor in changing that.
Some good current-pro comparisons for Dexter Lawrence are Haloti Ngata and, former Giant, Linval Joseph. If James Bettcher and the defensive staff can get the most of out the big man, the Giants will have themselves a perennial Pro Bowl talent in the middle of their defense for years to come.
Gettleman can only hope.