NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft Player Profiles: LSU NT Rashard Lawrence

From now until the 2020 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#90 Rashard Lawrence / IDL LSU – 6016 308

The Good

  • Quickness and burst at the snap
  • Hand placement and leverage vs the run
  • Good competitiveness and works hard to get through blocks
  • Strong tackler
  • Experience playing inside and at defensive end

The Bad

  • His use of hands to keep blockers off of him
  • Timing of hands and strength of punch rushing the passer
  • Pass rush plan is extremely limited
  • Balance and ability to stay on his feet
  • Lateral agility and change of direction is marginal
  • Ability to disengage from blocks

Bio

  • Career – 120 tackles, 47 solo, 20.5 TFL, 9 sacks, 7 PD, 1 FR, 1 FF
  • 2019 – 28 tackles, 11 solo, 6 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 PD, 1 FR, 1 FF
  • 2017 – 2019 – Permanent Team Captain
  • 43 games, 34 starts
  • Missed three games with ankle injury
  • 2019 – Graduate (B.A. Sports Administration)

Tape Breakdown

A starting defensive lineman for the Tigers who was a leader on the defense and aligned primarily as a defensive end but also saw time inside and over the center on some passing downs.  He’s a wide bodied defender who can show very good burst at the snap and show good mental processing to identify run or pass quickly.

Against the pass, he can be very quick at the snap and show good effort to work through blocks. He rushed primarily from the DE position and on passing downs he was used over the center. He has a limited pass rush plan that showed good strength and some success with a club and yank moves. He shows good awareness to get his hands up when he isn’t going to get to the QB and solid awareness on screens.

Vs Central Florida, here is a club he connects with and scoots around the LG for the sack.

 

Vs Clemson, he uses a strong push/pull to get the guard off balance and gets around him but can’t stay on his feet to get the sack.

 

His quickness at the snap fluctuates. He was very quick consistently as a junior and but as a senior there wasn’t the same burst.  He extends his hands too quickly leaving him reaching for the lineman and limits the power to his punch and often leaves him making first contact with his body. His hand fighting needs to improve as it looked like his arms were flailing away from his body instead of into the blocker. He has short choppy steps and doesn’t extend forward enough to stress the OL. His balance and change of direction are poor leading him to spend too much time on the ground.

Vs Central Florida, rushing from the 3 tech. He starts up field, stop his rush to throw a club that misses but is able to get around the leaning guard for a pressure.

 

Against the run, when he fires out, he has shown the ability to shoot gaps and disrupt the backfield when playing in a one gap scheme. He displays good leverage and hand placement in one on one battles and can stalemate with OL. He was solid versus double teams and works hard to get through them. He is a solid tackler when he gets his hands on runners and QB’s

At Alabama, he’s on the right side and the LT with miss the block. He gives chase and gets a push from the pulling RG and ends up on the ground but grabs the leg of the runner.

 

Vs Clemson, maybe the best run defense I saw. Good quickness, hands placement and push on the LT and shows good chase down the line to make the tackle.

 

He does not consistently show the ability to disengage from blocks and his motor is adequate to chase after plays. Change of direction and ability to stop and start in another direction was marginal. He does not have the lateral agility to hand blocks on outside Zone runs or to beat blocks to set the edge.

Vs Texas A&M, from a 4i position he uses leverage and long arm to hold off the LT and when he release again gets a push and ends up on the ground.

 

Lawrence’s numbers took a big dip from 2018 to 2019 and an early ankle injury may have had some impact on his production and he may have been playing out of position at DE.  Regardless, there was a lot of game tape where he wasn’t impressing and there are many areas he needs to improve including his use of hands, shedding block and staying on his feet. His best attribute was his burst and that would make him a candidate for a 1 gap system where he can fire though and disrupt the backfield. He’s should see time as a rotational DT on the early downs.

Projection:  Mid day 3

Games Watched:  2018 – Vs Central Florida; 2019 – At Texas, At Alabama, Vs Texas A&M, Vs Clemson

 

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