Photo of Shaq Lawson
Drafted By: Bills
  • Round 1
  • Pick 19
  • Overall 19

Combine Results

Grade
6.2 ?
  • 4.70 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 33.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 120.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.16 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.21 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"As far as body type, think Brian Orakpo and Tamba Hali as a best-case. He can play inside or outside, and up or down. He has an explosive lower body and violent hands, and is quick off the edge." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'3" Height
  • 32 3/4" Arm Length
  • 269LBS. Weight
  • 10" Hands

Overview

Great things were expected from Lawson, who was the top-rated prep school player in the country out of Hargrave Military Academy after a successful high school career in South Carolina. He played well as a reserve for two seasons behind the ever-stacked Tiger defensive line, racking up double-digit tackles for loss each year (10 in 2013, 11 in 2014). With the departure of the likes of Vic Beasley and Malliciah Goodman, Lawson finally got a chance to start in 2015 and made the most of it, constantly exploding into the backfield to finish among the nation's leaders in tackles for loss (25.5) and sacks (12.5). Lawson's personal accomplishments (consensus All-American, first-team All-ACC) led to great team success, as he and fellow junior Kevin Dodd and sophomore Heisman Trophy candidate Deshaun Watson helped the Tigers to an undefeated regular season, ACC title, and national championship game appearance.

Analysis

Strengths

Built like a tank with thickly muscled legs and a broad chest. Clemson played him at 5-­technique and standing up on the outside. Scheme versatile and will likely appeal to be 3­-4 and 4-­3 teams. Very powerful at the point of attack. Able to punch, extend arms and control the line of scrimmage or set a hard edge. Able to shock and shed blockers and has the hand quickness to staggered block attempts. Power allows him to play on other side of the line. Finished second in the nation in "stuffs" for defensive linemen with 17. Comes off ball low and with forward lean into his rush. Has frame to handle a double team. Has plus instincts and feel for the game. Toughness in full display.

Weaknesses

Thickly bound with very average flexibility. Average athlete for an end position. Not a natural hip bender and will have to focus on keeping pad level lower to unlock his leverage potential. Shows obvious signs of fatigue as game wears on. At times, is too content to lean on blocks when play isn’t run to his side rather than working to discard. Will have snaps where he seems more concerned with imposing his will on blocking rather than diagnosing the play. Doesn’t have the bend or upper body flexion to be edge turner as pass rusher. Effort sacks will diminish in pros and will need to become more nuanced pass rusher.

Draft Projection

Round 1

Sources Tell Us

"I see Shaq as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He's not the guy you want to turn loose against the quarterback, but he is the guy that will make it hard for tight ends to block him in the run game. We knew we couldn’t run at him and it changed how we called plays." -- ACC offensive coach

NFL Comparison

Courtney Upshaw

Bottom Line

Productive backup for two years before putting together an All­-American season in his first year as a full- time starter. Lawson is built like a full­-grown man and combines his instincts, toughness and power to fill up a stat sheet and set an early tone. Lawson's frame and game are easily translatable to the NFL, but his average athleticism and pass rush skills will likely have teams viewing him as a 3­-4 edge setter or a 4-­3 base end. Lawson may also have value as 3­-4 defensive tackle in an upfield scheme.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster

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