Demarcus Lawrence is someone who could make sense for the Atlanta Falcons in their search for an edge-rushing defensive end and outside linebacker. The Falcons could use him in that role easily in Mike Nolan’s defense in 2014.
According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons brought in Lawrence for a visit to get an idea of his fit within the scheme. If Lawrence is a good fit all-around, the Falcons could wind up with a solid pass-rusher near the top of the second round in him.
Boise State University
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6'2-7/8" Weight: 251 pounds
Arm Length: 33-3/4" Hand Measurement: 11"
40 yard dash: 4.69 sec. 10 yard split: 1.62 sec.
20 yard shuttle: 4.31 sec. 3-cone Drill: 7.46 sec. Bench Reps: 20 reps
Vertical Jump: 34.5" Broad Jump: 9'5"
2013: 12 Games Played, 72 Tackles, 20.5 Tackles for Loss, 10.5 Sacks, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Fumble Forced, 1 Pass Deflection, 2 Blocked Kicks
2012: 11 Games Played, 48 Tackles, 13.5 Tackles for Loss, 8.5 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 4 Fumbles Forced, 1 Fumble Recovered, 1 Blocked Kick, 1 Defensive Touchdown
2011: Played at Butler Community College (Kansas)
2010: Redshirted at Butler Community College (Kansas)
Lawrence is an instinctual player who has a good read of where the ball is going and how to attack it. He also has very strong hand usage when trying to shed blocks and get to the ball-carrier or quarterback. On top of that, he shows a lot of pop firing off the ball at the line.
With his good athleticism, he’s able to play a solid range and can force plays back inside when setting the edge. He’s also extremely versatile, as he’s played as both a linebacker and defensive end in a multiple-front defense for Boise State.
Lawrence’s length isn’t great, and he needs to gain 10-15 pounds and get the strength that comes along with it. On top of that, he needs to really develop more moves than just his swim and rip moves.
By adding the weight and functional strength, he should be a much better bull-rusher and run defender. Unfortunately, he comes off much more as an athlete with football potential rather than a football player with some athleticism.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Lawrence has proven to be a hardworking player on the field, but there are some questions off of it. He hasn’t been arrested, but he has been suspended three times for undisclosed violations of team rules. These could be anything from bad grades to stupid stunts.
However, if it’s something that is worse than what was listed—like insubordination to the coaching staff—the Falcons could completely take him off the board. It will be surprising to see what happens with this situation because Lawrence doesn’t seem like a Comrade Filter fit.
As someone who can play in either the 3-4 or the 4-3 as an edge player, Lawrence holds a ton of value in this year’s draft. Some teams will even have him graded in the mid-first round. He has some issues off the field, but some organizations are forgiving about those.
He has the speed and athleticism to be valuable in either defense. But he’s still very raw and doesn’t have much high-level experience. The Falcons could take a risk on him, but it would be shocking to see him taken before their third-round pick.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
Lawrence is a versatile defender with some off-field issues. If the Falcons can help him get his head screwed on straight, he could be a very good risk to take. However, the value for the Falcons versus the value for another team would be two different things.
It wouldn’t be shocking to hear that the Falcons have taken him off the board completely despite a visit to Atlanta. So, don’t be surprised in May if the Falcons completely pass on Lawrence for other talents due to off-field situations.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.