One day after hearing the devastating news at LAX regarding San Francisco 49ers OLB Aldon Smith, the 49ers are starting to look for alternatives as they will host a pre-draft visit for Boise State DE Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence, who is considered at best a second-round pick will likely be targeted by the 49ers in the third-round as GM Trent Baalke does not hold a pre-draft visit for any of his first or second-round draft picks as the last player to do so was WR A.J. Jenkins.
Lawrence is considered a top 10 defensive-end prospect that will likely transition as an outside linebacker in the 49ers 3-4 scheme. A hybrid athlete most commonly known as a “tweener” as Lawrence is 6-foot-3 and 251 pounds, he is a bit undersized to play defensive end at the next level making outside linebacker the ideal fit for him. At the NFL combine Lawrence put up a 4.80 40-yard dash, 20 reps on the bench-press, 34.5-inch vertical, 113-inch broad jump, and a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle with a blazing 4.31 second time.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Lawrence ranked as the No. 8 defensive end in this year’s draft class and with Lawrence starting out at Butler Community College, he is a small-school kid with high potential. Another ideal player for Baalke as he has the elongated wingspan as his arms stretch to a massive 33 3/4 with 11-inch hands, it’s no wonder he’s scheduled for a visit.
So the question remains, what does Lawrence and Louisville’s ILB Preston Brown have in common that the 49ers covet? Aside from their H-W-S, it’s their productivity, durability, and tackling that make them highly regarded. During Lawrence’s two years at Boise State he has not missed a game due to injury, and in 2013 had a career season that saw him rack up 72 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks. How’s that for production. And with his massive wingspan and ability to shed blockers with his violent hands, his tackling radius is off the charts, making him an ideal third-down pass-rusher his rookie season.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) April 14, 2014
However, he does have some red flags. In 2012, Lawrence was suspended twice, once against UNLV and then again against Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl for violating team rules. And the suspensions continued as Lawrence was again suspended in 2013 against Tennessee Martin for disciplinary issues. Not a good sign and if Lawrence is drafted by the 49ers it will not be until the third-round, mark my words as character concerns are alive and well documented.
With Lawrence scheduled to visit 49ers headquarters, they may have to fend off both the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons as those teams already met with Lawrence at their facilities.
Top 30 Pre-Draft Visits
Interview after Pro Day
SS Shamiel Gary (Oklahoma State) w/Regional Scout Bob Morris
WR Mike Evans (Texas A&M) w/Director of College Scouting Matt Malaspina
WR Odell Beckham (LSU) w/Regional Scout Bob Morris
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) w/HC Jim Harbaugh
Dinner w/GM Trent Baalke