One of the most consistently rock-solid (and most consistently underrated) members of the New England Patriots defense is lineman Lawrence Guy.
Lawrence Guy is such a terrific story in the NFL.
Initially placed in special education classes growing up because of learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, Guy persevered throughout his early education and high school until he was eventually accepted into Arizona State University.
After three successful years with the Sun Devils, he declared for the NFL Draft. Guy encountered more adversity almost immediately, sliding all the way down to the seventh round before he was finally selected by the Green Bay Packers.
Making matters worse, he missed his rookie season due to injury and was subsequently cut the following summer.
After starting 2012 on the Packers’ practice squad, the Indianapolis Colts gave him a shot at actual playing time. He did the best he could but was eventually waived in 2013. Guy was then picked up by the Chargers (then in San Diego), who also later cut him in 2014.
He recently started to finally hit his stride in 2015 with the Baltimore Ravens. Guy had 46 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and one blocked kick that year. More notably, he finally played in all 16 regular season games for his first time as a pro — an accomplishment he repeated in 2016 with the Ravens.
Always one to keep his eye out for talent, Bill Belichick signed Guy to a four-year, $20 million contract at the start of the 2017 season. While the number may have seemed a bit high at the time for a player with little statistical evidence of greatness behind him, Guy has so far played up to his contract throughout the first half of the deal.
He’s appeared in all 16 games in back-to-back seasons for the New England Patriots — making that now four straight years total in the NFL playing all 16 games. He also played in the Pats’ three postseason games in 2018 and in their one playoff game in 2019.
Guy set a then-career high for himself in tackles in 2018 with 59. He bested that mark last year (61) and also finished with three sacks, two fumbles recoveries, and an interception in 2019.
Known as an excellent run-stuffer, Guy has shown he also has a nose for the ball in recent seasons as well.
Best-case scenario projection for 2020
Guy plays a full 16-game season for his fifth consecutive year. After finishing third in total tackles last year behind Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower, Guy moves up a spot or two and either leads the team in tackles in 2020 or falls just short and is No. 2.
If he builds on his big-play ability, that’d be an impressive achievement as well. The quickest way to do that probably isn’t by getting more interceptions — those are rare for someone who plays his position.
But racking up more fumble recoveries or forcing more fumbles in the first place? Either one of those — or both — seems easily doable for Guy in his age-30 season this year.
Worst-case scenario projection for 2020
In a worst-case scenario, Guy reverts back to the player he was in his pre-Baltimore days: someone who was oft-injured and usually playing on practice squads after getting cut from final rosters.
That may seem like a long shot for a 30-year-old veteran who’s been in the league since 2011 now, but keep in mind that Guy technically “only” has 112 career regular season games under his belt in nine years of being a pro.
For comparison, fellow defensive tackle Jurrell Casey also came into the league in 2011 and has already played in 149 career regular season games.
The Patriots also continue to get younger along their roster. That hasn’t necessarily carried over to the defensive tackle position yet, but it could happen sooner rather than later if Guy struggles in 2020.