As hard as NFL draft prospects work out for the NFL Scouting Combine, training for drills is, in one sense, the easy part. At least the demands are known ahead of time -- the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, etc. -- and players arrive knowing exactly what will be asked of them on the field.
The hard part? Interviews, where preparation meets utter unpredictability.
Sure, there is homework that can be done on football questions, but no amount of preparation would include James Madison, who served two presidential terms roughly 200 years ago.
Lawson, like most anyone who isn't an American history scholar would, stumbled.
"I didn't know the answer," he said.
No problem, Shaq. We had to look it up, too.
Where Lawson didn't stumble was the 40-yard dash, where he turned in one of the more impressive times of the event with a 4.70 at 270 pounds. His agility tested exceptionally well also, as his 4.21 time in the 20-yard shuttle was tied for second among defensive linemen, matching presumptive top-10 pick Joey Bosa of Ohio State. In fact, he performed well enough across the board that he expects to participate only in position drills and the 60-yard shuttle at Clemson's pro day on March 10. Lawson said he'll return to Indianapolis on April 15 for a medical re-check on an old shoulder injury he suffered his freshman year.
Lawson met with 22 clubs at the combine for formal interviews that last 15 minutes each. Among them: the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington RedskinsPittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins.
There, the interviews will continue.
But with the combine lightning rounds out of the way, Lawson can only hope to be finished with the presidential history trivia.