American Football

Giants’ Dexter Lawrence ranked No. 6 DT in NFL, per ESPN


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Dexter Lawrence | Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Dexter Lawrence of the New York Giants has been voted the No. 6 defensive tackle in the NFL by an ESPN panel of executives, coaches and players.

Here is what ESPN said about Lawrence, who was unranked in this same survey a year ago:

Lawrence has had an impressive seven months. He capped off a 7.5-sack season by helping lead the Giants to the playoffs and a wild-card win in Minnesota. In May, he landed a four-year, $90-million extension with the club.

“Flat-out dominant run defender,” an NFC executive said. “He can create for himself or others. Can overwhelm. If your center isn’t a top-level guy, he will dominate him. Sack production isn’t elite but he was better last year.”

Lawrence’s 43 pressures ranked second among defensive tackles last year, behind Jones. That’s more pressures than Lawrence had in 2020 and 2021 combined (42).

“Now that he has the contract, I’m curious if he keeps up the same level of play,” an AFC executive said. “I thought his intensity would come and go a bit coming out of college.

ESPN named Leonard Williams an honorable mention.

Touchdown Wire was even more complementary of Lawrence, saying that the only defensive lineman better than Lawrence in 2022 was Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Lawrence was as good as any interior defensive lineman in the league last season. He totaled nine sacks, 26 quarterback hits, 35 quarterback hurries, and 42 stops during a breakout season in which his tape overwhelmed his metrics.

One thing we know for sure — nobody was more destructive to opposing quarterbacks last season as a nose tackle. From the 0-tech and 1-tech alignments (head over the center and to the center’s shoulders), Lawrence racked up 47 total pressures. Vita Vea of the Buccaneers ranked second… with 18.

After signing his new contract, Lawrence said he felt he was “up there” among the league’s best defensive linemen, but that “I have a lot more to go.”

“My ultimate goal is to be legendary, to be a Hall of Famer,” Lawrence said.

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