Dabo Swinney: Clemson DE Shaq Lawson a first-round talent

PHOENIX -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney predicts Tigers defensive end Shaq Lawson will be a first-round draft pick.

And if the Lawson who enters the NFL is the same Lawson Swinney knows, the team that selects him won't have to worry about an attitude of entitlement -- first-round pick or otherwise.

"He can be as good as there is in that league. I think he's a first-round talent," Swinney said Saturday during the College Football Playoff media day. "When (NFL) people get a hold of Shaq and get to know him, they'll love him because he's such a low-maintenance guy. He loves to play, he loves to practice, he's very coachable. He loves to study film and he's a very smart football player. People look at him as a superstar player, but he's a very low-maintenance guy."

Lawson, a junior who intends to enter the 2016 draft, said he has received first-round feedback regarding his draft status as well.

He's certainly played like it.

Lawson has made 23.5 tackles for loss this season with 10.5 sacks, leading the Tigers in both categories, and he's performed well against the best of his competition. In Clemson's 24-22 win over Notre Dame on Oct. 3, while facing another top draft prospect in Fighting Irish left tackle Ronnie Stanley, Lawson made 3.5 tackles for loss and also drew a holding penalty on Stanley, who also intends to enter the 2016 draft. Lawson will face another of the nation's top left tackles on Monday in Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson in the CFP championship. It's one of the game's most heavily anticipated matchups.



Until then, Lawson is dealing with a knee injury he suffered in Clemson's national semifinal win over Oklahoma. He's had treatment on the knee twice per day, saying "there's a very good chance I'll be able to play."

From Swinney's perspective, however, he has nothing more to prove to NFL scouts.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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