It sounds like Shaq Lawson will make his Buffalo Bills debut on Sunday against the Dolphins.
After a bonkers offseason, an 0-2 start, and the current four-game win streak, it wouldn’t be ridiculous to assume Buffalo’s 2016 first-round pick has been a relative afterthought to this point in the season, especially considering everyone knew many months ago he’d begin his professional career on the sidelines.
Therefore, I figured a refresher on Lawson was in order.
To begin, here’s staffer Dan Lavoie’s pre-draft scouting report on Lawson. In his summary, Lavoie wrote: “Lawson blends size, athleticism, and production together as a potentially ideal prospect for Buffalo.” Good call there, Dan.
I did my first ever “Big Board” during this past draft season and had Lawson as the No. 7 overall prospect.
(Without a grading system, I’ve never understood how players at different positions can be ranked, but I wanted to try constructing a Big Board. It wasn’t easy.)
Athletically, Lawson compares similarly to this trio of successful NFL edge-rushers:
Statistically, in 30 career collegiate games, Lawson accumulated 123 total tackles, 45.5 tackles for loss, and an even 20 sacks. His 24.5 tackles for loss in 2015 were the most at the FBS level. Also, he finished fourth in the nation with 12 sacks last year.
I won’t go deep into my pre-draft thoughts on Lawson — whom I clearly thought highly of. I recommend reading Dan’s scouting report.
But I will say this — I agreed with Dan’s assertion that, after Joey Bosa, Lawson was the most complete edge-defender in the 2016 draft class.
Below is film from the two highest-profile games of Lawson’s final season at Clemson.
National title against Alabama
He finished this game with four tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks. Quite the performance.
Against eventual Top 5 pick, Notre Dame LT Ronnie Stanley
Lawson vs. Stanley was a classic heavyweight battle. Lawson amassed five tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss against the Fighting Irish.
While the Bills will likely ease Lawson into the front-seven rotation, Buffalo’s defense will have a young, talented, and refined player at its disposal when he’s on the field.