As the old adage goes: You can never have too many pass rushers. Despite the recent news that the 49ers have picked up OLB Aldon Smith's fifth year option, I expect the 49ers to add a pass rusher with one of their first six picks all of which are in the top 100. One potential target could be Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State.
School: Boise State
Arm Length: 33 ¾"
Bench: 20 reps
Vertical Jump: 34.5"
Broad Jump: 113"
3-cone drill: 7.46
- Has experiencing rushing the quarterback from various spots on the field.
- Plays faster and bigger than the numbers indicate.
- Quick, strong hands when battling linemen.
- Sets up lineman with a few different looks and pass rushing moves.
- Ability to pressure the pocket consistently.
- Goes for the ball once he has the QB wrapped up. Forced seven fumbles in two seasons.
- Possible character concerns. Was suspended three times in just two seasons.
- A bit of a tweener in terms of size.
- Struggles at time to disengage from blockers.
- Gets knocked to the down a little too frequently.
- Don't see the bend or athleticism you see in elite pass rushers.
Doing your homework:
Check out Lawrence's game against Nevada below. You can also see games against Wyoming, Fresno State, Oregon State and a few others over at DraftBreakdown.com.
Why he fits the 49ers:
Lawrence would provide some much needed depth for the 49ers defense that could be without Aldon Smith for as many as six games should the NFL decide to suspend him. The cupboard certainly isn't bare. Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier are ready to step up so the 49ers would be able to use Lawrence as a pass rush specialist, similarly to how Smith was used his rookie year.
The 49ers also brought Lawrence to the Bay Area for a closer look last month. While that doesn't mean they'll take him we know he's squarely on the radar.
Pass rusher isn't as deep as many of the other positions in this draft class. There is a significant drop in talent after those expected to go the first two rounds. That alone could be a reason the 49ers look to add a pass rusher early, Lawrence or not.
Why he might not fit the 49ers:
Lawrence's visit with the 49ers while scheduled before Aldon Smith's LAX incident came right on the heels of the run-in. One can suspect, given Lawrence's previous troubles, that the 49ers poked around and did their own investigating into those incidents that caused the young prospect to be suspended multiple times. What they found likely won't impact his overall draft stock too much but it could be used as a tiebreaker should they like another prospect equally.
While he shows glimpses of dominance he seems to struggle locating and attacking the ball cleanly in the run game. Despite the potential he's still a work in progress. He doesn't jump off the tape with speed or athleticism despite being able to consistently pressure the pocket. This may cause some scouts to point to the competition level.
What they're saying:
- NFL.Com's Mike Mayock has Lawrence as his 4th overall OLB prospect.
- DraftInsider.com's Tony Pauline said "trusted sources" told him Lawrence won't make it out of round two.
- Check out Lawrence's stats at cfbstas.com
While their playing style isn't too similar Lawrence seems very Ahmad Brooks-like to me. Both faced troubles in college ultimately leading to early departures to the NFL. Brooks struggled to find a position as some think Lawrence will. Brooks, like Lawrence, plays MUCH bigger and stronger than his size indicates (6-4, 259lbs).
I struggle to project Lawrence as a strong or weak side backer. He lacks the bend and athleticism to compete every down with left tackles but he's not strong or big enough (yet) to man the strong side. Going to a system that would allow him to play exclusively on passing downs while bulking up and refining his game could lead to a long and productive career.