Jumps Off the Tape: Demarcus Lawrence and the virtues of brute force

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

The Boise State pass rusher is violent, aggressive and mean-spirited. In other words, he's got the foundation to succeed. Danny Kelly's "Jumps Off the Tape" series continues.

When scouting NFL Draft prospects, there are always players who "jump off the tape" to me more than others. Why? It's tough to say -- "draft scouting" is a subjective field and there are hundreds of variables to consider. Within, there are going to be different biases and different priorities in terms of which skills or tools to look for at the different positions among evaluators.

This series of short scouting reports will aim to pick out a play, or a couple of plays, that jumped out to me as representations of why I am in a certain prospect's corner. It's incomplete evaluation, but meant to highlight what a player can do and why those skills might project to the NFL level.

DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State: 6'3, 251

Lawrence moves like an undersized defensive end prospect but plays with the physicality of a much bigger player. The long-armed, meat-hook-handed former Bronco is best rushing the passer -- he still has a little work to do in the run defense department -- but what I like most about him is his style of play: violent and aggressive, mean-spirited.

Lawrence does a good job of mixing speed moves to the outside with inside pressure and a bull rush. The hump move he displays in the play below is a very nice example:

Times the snap well. No wasted steps. Converts speed to power to swipe the left tackle out of the way. Closes, finishes.

The Bottom Line:

Lawrence is a tweener in size, but has a lot of physical tools that coaches love. I could see him catch on as a strongside end in a 4-3 or a weakside OLB in a 3-4, but it wouldn't surprise me if he plays a number of different roles at the next level. He's not overly explosive out of his stance, but he plays with force and physicality, and can bend the edge on his pass rush very well. He's flexible and has a nose for the quarterback.


Final note: When building their NFL Draft boards, scouting departments watch every single snap of a particular draft prospect's season. Within those hundreds of snaps, there are likely some great plays and some bad plays, and a multitude of nondescript plays in between. Scouts must determine how consistently a player can display the good traits and figure out how easily coaches can mitigate or coach out the bad. This report is just a jump-off point.

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