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Giants Now: PFF ranks Dexter Lawrence among top defensive linemen

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PFF ranks Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams among top D-linemen

Dexter Lawrence erupted in his fourth season as he put together one of the most dominant performances the Giants have seen from one of its defenders in years.

Pro Football Focus released a ranking of the top 25 interior defensive linemen from the 2022 season, where the Giants' fourth-year defender landed at No. 2.

While Kansas City Chiefs DL Chris Jones came in at No. 1, PFF's Jonathon Macri notes that "there isn't much that separates Lawrence from Jones among the top two spots."

Lawrence exploded onto the scene this past season. His 7.5 sacks and 28 quarterback hits smashed his previous career-best marks of 4.0 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. The 6-foot-4, 342-pound lineman also set new career-bests in total tackles (68), tackles for loss (seven), pass breakups (three) and forced fumbles (two).

The 25-year-old showed tremendous durability throughout the entire campaign. After never playing more than 69 percent of the team's defensive snaps in his first three seasons, Lawrence was on the field for 82 percent of the snaps in 2022 while not missing a single game due to injury.

Lawrence was selected Second-Team All-Pro in addition to earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. It represented the first time he achieved either honor in his young career. He was also named to the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-NFC Team.

"Lawrence was one of the most quietly dominant defenders in the league this season," PFF's Sam Monson wrote last month. "While several interior linemen had career years, Lawrence was one of only a few that did not tail off or allow an injury to derail his production. He finished with 63 total pressures and 38 defensive stops — both new career highs."

Lawrence's teammate Leonard Williams also made the list at No. 13, as Macri writes "Williams has been among the most consistent defensive linemen since entering the league in 2015."

Williams missed time due to injury for the first time in his eight-year career this season. In the 12 games he did play, the veteran lineman registered 45 tackles (26 solo), 2.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a career-best two fumble recoveries.

"Under defensive coordinator Don Martindale, Williams played a higher snap share from inside the tackles (70%) than he has since joining the Giants in 2019," Macri says. According to PFF, that helped Williams boost his productivity as a pass rusher.

Here are the top 5 players in PFF's 2022 interior defensive linemen rankings:

  1. Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants
  3. Quinnen Williams, New York Jets
  4. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
  5. Cameron Hayward, Pittsburgh Steelers

View photos of defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence's career with the Giants.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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