STRENGTHS - A smooth and fluid athlete, Lawrence moves with remarkable ease out in space. He has a quick and sound pedal dropping into coverage and can flip hips to adjust to receivers who cross his body. He can transition quickly and has a good closing burst on passes in front of him. His hips, athleticism and speed make it easy for him to cover TE off the LOS in man coverage. Despite his lack of experience at the position, he is surprisingly instinctive and aware reading and reacting to the play. He has the speed to chase down ball carriers in pursuit and plays faster than expected because of his quick start towards the ball. He flashes quick and aggressive hands to jolt potential blocker so that he can stay free and run to the ball.
WEAKNESSES - Much more of a finesse, run and hit linebacker than a physical thumper. While he flashes good hand use to stay free from blocks, if they get their hands on him they can tie him up and ride him out of the play too easily - Actually gets over-powered at times. When he tries to jam TE, his lack of strength hinders his ability to slow TE's release. He lacks explosiveness off the ball as a pass rusher, does not have the size/strength to be effective as a bull rusher and has no real variety of pass rush moves. Despite flashing the ability to break down and tackle well, most of the time he tries to go for the big hit and ends up leaving feet, delivering blow and then falling off tackle.
SUMMARY - A former high school quarterback, Lawrence has developed into a productive college linebacker and shows surprisingly instincts and awareness despite being new to playing defense. He is a good enough athlete to be effective in coverage in the NFL, but needs to add weight and improve his playing strength so that he can be more effective against blockers. Right now I do not see enough from Lawrence to warrant drafting him early, but in the late rounds or as a priority free agent he makes a lot of sense. If he can improve his playing strength and ability to fight through blockers to make tackles he could develop into a quality backup linebacker with a season. I think he is a good developmental linebacker prospect with upside to be more than just a backup in time.