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Big Dexter Lawrence impresses Giants so much, he'll play some DE

Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence runs a defensive

Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence runs a defensive drill during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday. Credit: Brad Penner

A 6-4, 342-pound mastodon of a defensive lineman taken with the draft’s 17th pick usually lands in one spot: right in the middle. Dexter Lawrence certainly has the dimensions to be the type of player a team can plop over the center to control the line of scrimmage. It’s what he did for most of his career at Clemson.

The Giants are going in a different direction, though. They are so enamored of Lawrence’s athleticism and ability to be a pass rusher that they have used him as a defensive end in their 3-4 schemes in training camp.

“He can line up on the nose, he can line up as a three [tackle] and he can line up as a five [on the outside], on the center, guard or tackle, because of his size, his quickness and his length,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “Generally speaking, as you get further from the ball, length is more important, and because he’s got such great size, he can do that for us.”

Dalvin Tomlinson has been lining up at nose tackle with B.J. Hill at the other end in most situations. But the three of them give the Giants a chance to be creative up front, even when they don’t substitute. Defensive line coach Gary Emmanuel said he can envision a series in which the three of them line up at various spots, shuffling from over center to over tackle as they find matchups and create confusion for the offensive line.

It’s Lawrence’s somewhat surprising athleticism for a man his size that allows such configurations. The Giants seem to be thinking of Lawrence’s range as similar to that of Aaron Donald — with an additional three inches and 70 pounds to him.

“He’s a big man, obviously,” Shurmur said. “He’s had an impact already. Watching the one-on-one pass rush, you can see that he’s a guy that’s going to be able to get some pressure. We feel good about him being able to play on all three downs. He hasn’t disappointed us in any way and he’s continuing to get better each day.”

Giant steps

T George Asafo-Adjei (concussion) and LB Mark McLaurin (fractured foot) were added to the list of players not practicing because of injury. They joined WR Sterling Shepard (thumb), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), WR Brittan Golden (groin), CB Sam Beal (hamstring) and CB Henre’ Toliver (ankle) on the sideline . . . Rookie LB Oshane Ximines had another strong practice, blowing past LT Nate Solder with an inside pass rush in one-on-one drills and then batting down a pass from Daniel Jones with an emphatic two-handed block in 11-on-11 snaps . . . The Giants have a day off from practice on Monday and will be back on the field Tuesday.

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