Lawson hopes to follow Jerrel Jernigan (selected by the Giants in 2010) and T.Y. Hilton (Colts, 2011) as Sun Belt receivers drafted in the third round. He hasn’t had the chance to prove his return abilities, an important factor that helped Jernigan and Hilton climb draft boards, but might at an all-star game. Scouts will certainly be intrigued with his receiving skills in any case, which he again showed while scoring three touchdowns in Ragin’ Cajuns’ spring game.
The New Orleans-area native (he led the metro area with 19 touchdown receptions as a senior). He played in 12 games as a true freshman (the only first-year player to suit up that season), catching 12 passes for 124 yards and one touchdown as a reserve. He started the team’s first six games (19 catches, 271 yards, TD) in 2010 before suffering a clavicle injury and missing the rest of the season. As a junior, he joined Hilton as a first-team all-conference receiver, racking up 63 catches for 1,092 yards (a healthy 17.3-yard average) and eight scores. The team won the New Orleans Bowl in its first post-season appearance since 1970, in a part due to the 193 yards and two touchdowns put up by Lawson.
Tough and quick receiver who could work inside or outside in the NFL. Has reasonably thick build, gives him some strength to make catches in traffic. Can track the ball over his shoulder and his hands are fast and strong enough to snatch errant throws around his frame. Elusive after the catch, makes a quick cut to change field. Uses a shake at the line and quick hands to get inside or the sideline against press, has enough speed to get a step on his man in a hurry. Team gets the ball in his hand quickly via bubble screens and shallow crosses. Breaks off his route, works across the field or back towards his quarterback when he is on the move. Good blocker in the run game, gets to his man off the snap, works to sustain downfield and shows some attitude when challenged.
Might not meet size requirements to be used outside in some systems. Lacks great length or strength to get off stronger press corners, can be taken off his route by more physical defenders. Allows some throws into his body, resulting in missed opportunities. At times resorts to cut blocks and throwing his body at a target instead of keeping his feet.
Lawson could be the third straight All-Sun Belt receiver to land in the third round of the NFL Draft. Scouts like his reliable hands and understand his skinny build belies a strength after the catch appearing throughout the 2011 season (1,092 receiving yards, 193 coming in the team’s New Orleans Bowl win over San Diego State).
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.