Road to the Pros: Whether Drafted High or Low, LSU's Rashard Lawrence Wants the Chance to Prove Himself

Harrison Valentine

Rashard Lawrence’s decision to come back to LSU in 2019 stemmed off one thing: the chance to win a national title. He knew how special the team could be after the Fiesta Bowl win over UCF, and 12 months later, as the confetti came streaming down, his exact vision came to fruition.

Lawrence was known to be a gentile giant during his time in Baton Rouge. His personality doesn’t necessarily personify his play on the field, which is fierce and ferocious. He flips a mental switch on Saturday nights in the fall, becoming one of the toughest interior defensive lineman in the nation.

“He's a tough dude,” said Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network. “Not often found off the point of attack or bubbled by drive blocks. His motor meets required levels when scraping or pursuing the football laterally. That said, asking him to get range side to side will negatively impact his ability to hold ground due to hip tightness.”

Any organization that chooses to draft Lawrence is getting someone with a ton of heart. The 6-foot-2, 308-pound ‘Teddy Bear’ played through injuries for a good portion of his career with the Tigers, but the production never wavered. Even on a bad ankle at times, Lawrence proved to be a steadily dominant presence up the middle.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Lawrence ran a productive 5.07 40-yard dash time in his second attempt. Totaling 120 tackles and nine sacks in his impressive four-year tenure at LSU, Lawrence is currently a projected third round draft selection, per multiple draft outlets.

Most Intriguing Destination: As a graduate of both Neville High School and LSU, Lawrence has played football in Louisiana his whole life, but a possible move up north to Detroit could be a likely destination on draft night, and the Lions are in need of an interior defensive lineman. Wherever he gets picked, Lawrence is just ready to get to work, and excited to prove his worth.

“Certainly looks the part of an NFL defensive tackle while showcasing some likable first step quickness and motor,” said Joe Marino of The Draft Network. “Works hard to grease angles and get to the edges of blocks so that he can penetrate. Pursuit effort and urgency is excellent. Highly regarded for his football character and leadership traits within the LSU program.”

Everywhere Lawrence has gone in the game of football, he’s been a winner. As he embarks on his next chapter as a professional, there’s no reason he can’t do the same in the National Football League.

“I’m gonna prove that I belong wherever I go,” Lawrence told Justin Melo of DraftWire. “Whether I get drafted early or late, I’m gonna bring my intangibles with me and work extremely hard to reward the organization that decides to pick me. I’ve won a State Championship and I’ve now won a National Championship as well. I wanna pick up that Lombardi trophy next.”

Writer’s Note: With the NFL Draft just under six weeks from now, concerns surrounding COVID-19 will likely force the league to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks. For Lawrence and the other LSU draft prospects, the early rounds in Las Vegas were primed to be dominated by Tigers. Stay tuned for updates as the situation develops.

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