Yes, you heard that right. DeMarcus Lawrence should be one of the top candidates to win this year’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Since coming into the league in 2014, Lawrence has registered 29 sacks in just 26 starts. Lawrence has dealt with his fair share of injuries, and even dealt with a suspension in 2016. Since serving said suspension, Lawrence has recorded 21 sacks in 29 games.
Dating back to the start of last season, here are the stats of five of the best defensive ends in the NFL.
- Khalil Mack: 15.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles
- Von Miller: 14 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles
- Danielle Hunter: 12 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, one forced fumble
- Calais Campbell: 17.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles
- DeMarcus Lawrence: 20 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles
On some occasions, stats lie. On this occasion, they do not. DeMarcus Lawrence is the best defensive end in football, and he’s just getting started.
Through four weeks of the 2018 season, Lawrence is currently leading the NFL in sacks with 5.5. Not only has DeMarcus Lawrence shown he’s one of, if not the best pass rusher in the NFL, he’s also shown the consistent ability to be an excellent run defender week in, and week out.
Through four weeks, Lawrence leads the league in sacks, is second in the league in tackles for loss, and tied for the lead (Danielle Hunter) with 21 total tackles from the defensive end position. DeMarcus Lawrence is so effective because he has the three most important tools to have success as an elite defensive end in the NFL.
When DeMarcus Lawrence is locked in he is almost impossible to defend. Lawrence is very explosive off the snap, which is one of his keys to success. When Lawrence wins off the snap, the man across from might as well give up due to the multitude of ways he can win.
Lawrence gets the sack here because he’s able to beat the Lions’ right tackle to the edge, then he’s able to swipe Wagner’s hands, bend the edge and get to Matthew Stafford in a hurry. If Lawrence is slow off the snap, or doesn’t have the ability to bend the edge, he doesn’t get this sack.
Where Lawrence finds a lot of his success is when he uses his power to win on the inside. Tank possesses so much power in his upper half that he’s able to control offensive lineman at the point of attack with ease. The beautiful thing about Lawrence is that sometimes he doesn’t have to have a great plan when rushing and he can still get home due to that explosiveness and power.
This is just ridiculous to watch. On this play, Lawrence get chipped by the running back, beats Germain Ifedi to the inside, and destroys the right guard and center which allows Sean Lee to run freely to Wilson. Not only does Lawrence create this sack, but he also finished it too and gets credited for half of one.
When Lawrence doesn’t win with speed or power, he wins with technique. Out of the three traits we’re talking about today, Tank’s technique may be his best one. Lawrence is so good with his hands and arms, that even when he is a tick late off the snap, or misses with a power rush, he can still get off his blocker and get to the quarterback using his technique.
Lawrence is always very active with his hands. Whether it’s a two-hand swipe, one-hand swipe, club-arm over, swim move, push-pull, or cross-chop, Tank Lawrence’s hands/arms are always moving in sync with the rest of his body.
Here the Cowboys run a twist with DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford. The Lions do a nice job of passing this off, but Lawrence gives Lions OG with a club-arm over move off of the twist.
DeMarcus Lawrence is currently playing out of his mind and putting this defense, who has struggled to create turnovers and consistent pressure, on his back. Not only are his stats impressive, but his level of play on plays that don’t result in a sack or tackle are also unreal. Lawrence has taken over as the Cowboys defensive leader on the field with his play and the way he carries himself with great confidence and swagger. It’s about time we start hearing his name mentioned in the same category as Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and J.J. Watt, because he’s just as good if not better than all of them.
DeMarcus Lawrence bet on himself this offseason, and it’s going to pay off nicely for him this upcoming offseason. He is going to be a very rich man, and Cowboys Nation better hope that he’s a rich man with a star on his helmet.