Versatile linebacker drawing attention

Versatile linebacker drawing attention

The scouting combine has long been over, but with the draft looming and private workouts underway, talk about top prospects is just heating up.

One hot player who has the scouts still talking is Marcus Lawrence, a 6-foot-3, 236-pound senior linebacker from South Carolina.

Lawrence is a versatile linebacker, and his ability to play all of the ‘backer positions left scouts at the combine debating where he fits best. “The majority of the teams, like the Raiders, think I would be an outside linebacker,” Lawrence said. “But there are some other teams, like Kansas City, that like me as a middle.”

A number of other teams held meetings with Lawrence, who is being sought after so ardently due to his ability to shut down the run, while being able to provide help in coverage as well.

Beyond the aforementioned teams, the Broncos, Jets, Giants, Panthers and Saints all met with Lawrence, and he feels as if they all came away impressed.

As for the teams he did not have a chance to impress via interview, he took full advantage of his opportunity to show them what he could do on the field.

“I think it went really well,” said Lawrence of his overall showing at the combine. “I did a lot of good things.”

Draft experts had originally projected Lawrence to be selected anywhere betweens rounds three and six. Lawrence, however, left the combine with the impression that he had raised his stock to the point where he would be selected “anywhere between the second and the third.”

Unfortunately, Lawrence’s versatility may end up hurting him when teams assemble their draft boards this April. While he has the ability to stuff the run, he does not have extensive experience doing so from the Mike ’backer position. Also, while he has experience on the outside, he has received only limited opportunities to rush the passer, something he would be asked to do more frequently on the professional level, especially with the number of teams now utilizing the 3-4 defensive alignment.

Lawrence, though, believes he could make a big impact from the outside spot.

“To be honest, I wish I had a chance to rush the passer a lot more,” Lawrence said. “Before I was in college, and back when I was in junior college, I was an outside linebacker. They gave me a chance to rush the passer a lot and I was pretty good at it.”

As it turns out, there are a lot of things Lawrence has proven to be pretty good at. Only the team that drafts him, however, will be able unleash them all on the rest of the league.

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