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Lawrence is an athletic defensive tackle in the mold of Vince Wilfork
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May 6, 2019
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 who can not only play right away Rex Burkhead Jersey , but also succeed Lawrence Guy as the main DT on the team.”WhitePatriots News Opinion and Analysis Contribute! FanPostsFanShotsAbout the Site List of Patriots Twitter AccountsWrite For Pats Pulpit!New User Welcome and Commenting GuideCommunity GuidelinesMastheadTopics Patriots Off-Season CoveragePatriots Opinion/AnalysisPatriots NewsPatriots Draft CoverageSportfolio ManagementTop 10 Patriots Draft Fits #4: Clemson DT Dexter LawrenceNew,56commentsLawrence is an athletic defensive tackle in the mold of Vince Wilfork who can not only play right away, but also succeed Lawrence Guy as the main DT on the team.EDTShareTweetShareShareTop 10 Patriots Draft Fits #4: Clemson DT Dexter LawrenceThomas J. Russo-USA TODAY SportsThe Patriots are mostly set with the DT position as they’ve got 3 solid rotational players in Lawrence Guy, Mike Pennel, and Adam Butler. Guy and Pennel are more early down run stuffers with moderate pass rush upside whereas Butler is better at pushing the pocket than anchoring against the run. This year’s draft has a handful of solid DT prospects the Patriots should have a chance on, with only Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Christian Wilkins, and Jerry Tillery likely being off the board before the Patriots pick at 32. One player that was once considered a Top 10 prospect before the previous college season that could be available is Wilkins’ Clemson teammate in Dexter Lawrence.Combine DataHeight: 6’4”Weight: 342Arm: 34 3/4” 40: 5.05StrengthsCan play almost any interior DL position1 and 2-gap versatilityFreak athleteStrong anchor vs. runVirtually unblockable in 1-on-1 situationsDisruptive rusher by collapsing the pocket WeaknessesHas out-athleted every one to this point, technique will need workMore of a disruptor than playmakerGets a bit lazy at timesReasons Why the Patriots Will Draft HimPatriots haven’t had an athlete on their DL like this since taking Vince Wilfork 21st overall in the 2004 draft. Lawrence profiles very similar to Big Vince, who fell out of the top 10 and right into the Patriots laps that year. Lawrence being more of a disruptor than playmaker may allow for some teams to pass on him (their mistake) and the Patriots to target Lawrence in the early to mid 20s as a potential trade up target. Even if Lawrence isn’t going to make enough plays to be a defensive player of the year candidate, his skill set strongly profiles for what the Patriots want in their interior defensive linemen. Reasons Why the Patriots Will Not Draft HimSimply not being available is the biggest reason I can think of. If Lawrence is available when the Patriots are on the board, I think they pull the trigger on him regardless of other needs. Another thing to note is also the Patriots don’t necessarily have to prioritize a DT in the first round either given the team is 3-deep at the position although an injury makes the position rather thin as well. Lawrence also was barred from college postseason play in 2018 after testing positive for ostarine, a known PED, although he denies knowingly taking the substance. Who He Needs to Beat Out: Frank Herron Womens Donald Trump Jersey , David Parry, Keionta DavisThere isn’t much competition for Lawrence if we’re talking about the 4th DT in the rotation behind Guy, Pennel, and Butler. Lawrence would already be the most talented player in the room.Rookie Year ProjectionLawrence would be able to play right away as a major factor in the Patriots DT rotation. Lawrence should also be leaning on Guy and Pennel as two players who were late round picks that had to fight for every opportunity they got and ultimately cashing in with New England. Lawrence should see roughly 30-40% snaps as a rookie barring injuries. Long Term ProjectionLawrence will eventually work his way to being the top DT in the rotation by the end of Year 2, which is when Guy, Pennel, and Butler are all about to hit free agency. His size and strength would make him a tough guy to double up and beat in the run game. Grade: 5/5 Day 1 StarterRound: 1stWhat’s wrong with the Patriots? The Patriots are reeling after getting embarrassed by the Lions on Sunday Night Football. They’ve lost two straight games for the first time since 2015, and they’re starting 1-2 for the first time since 2012. After the game, Bill Belichick said that they have to improve everywhere, and that’s definitely true. There are, however, some specific areas in which the team really needs to improve. Run DefenseThe Patriots have been completely unable to stop the run. This is surprising because I consider their front seven as a unit to be a strength. They have a ton of depth and talent on the defensive line, so there’s no reason why they should be getting pushed around like they have been. The blame goes to the line and the linebackers, who have been allowing huge cutback lanes for the backs in the last two weeks. Getting back Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung, who sometimes acts as another linebacker http://www.patriotslockerroom……rds-jersey , will help, but the unit as a whole just needs to start playing better. Passing GameI’m not going to single out the receivers here. The whole unit has been very underwhelming. Tom Brady has yet to eclipse 300 yards passing in a game, and already has two interceptions in three games, which is uncharacteristic of him. Right now, there’s no one other than Rob Gronkowski that has any chance of beating man coverage. If I were playing the Patriots, I’d run man and double Gronk, and they’d never have a chance. This problem should be alleviated if Julian Edelman comes back the same player he was before his injury last season. And if Josh Gordon can get it together and actually be a factor, then this offense could really be dangerous. For me, it’s disappointing to find out that Phillip Dorsett and Chris Hogan are simply pieces that need better players around them to be successful. Play CallingThis is one that people have been bugged about for a while now. Some of the calls that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels makes are head scratching. He’ll call the same running play a few times in a row, whether or not it works. Then on 3rd and short with the offense struggling to get anything going, he’ll call a run off the guard that loses two yards. It just makes no sense at all. He’s certainly dialed up some great plays here, but it seems that he has a very hard time getting the offense going if it isn’t clicking. Not sure if this one is going to change, but I know I sure hope he’ll step his play calling up. SpeedThey say speed kills. Well, so does lack of speed. The Patriots have looked slow on offense and defense the past two weeks after looking solid against the Texans in the opener. There are certainly players banged up or suspended that will help when they come back, but the entire team looked to be moving in wet cement Sunday night. Dont’a Hightower in particular has looked like he’s lost a step Stephon Gilmore Jersey , which would be a massive blow for a team that desperately needs a playmaker on defense. Sometimes, if you’re thinking too much and not just playing, you can play slower than you actually are. Let’s hope that’s what is going on here, and the coaching staff can figure it out. Because otherwise, it’s going to be a very long season, and the Patriots won’t be going far. There’s too much speed in the NFL, and AFC, for you to be able to compete without good team speed yourself.This week is as close to a must-win as you can have this early in the season. Lose and you’re 1-3 with 3 straight losses, and, more importantly, you’re down three games to the Dolphins. That absolutely cannot happen – so expect them to bounce back and play well. If we know their season is on the line, so do they, and you can bet the farm they won’t just roll over the way they have the last few weeks. Pat is the host of the Weekend Warrior PodcastInteract with him on Twitter @wtplane
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