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2016 NFL Draft grades, Round 1: Shaq Lawson, Buffalo Bills earn high marks

Smart people think the Bills did a smart thing by drafting Shaq Lawson on Thursday night

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NFL Draft grades are never a particularly worthwhile endeavor, at least when it comes to the grade itself. But it's nevertheless interesting to know how people who cover the sport, and evaluate prospects, for a living perceive your team's draft picks, at any point after they're made. The Buffalo Bills are earning high marks for their selection of Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson in last night's first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report: A-

"He has the potential to live up to his billing and then some," writes Tanier. "After all, 12.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss is an awful lot of production for a guy the whole opposing offensive line is focused on stopping."

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: B-

"I don't like Lawson as much as others, but it is a need for the Bills," writes Prisco. "Maybe Rex Ryan can drop him into coverage too. Right, Mario Williams?"

Chad Reuter, A

"Lawson isn't the physically-dominating player Mario Williams is, but he's a good find here in a draft without a lot of top-rated pass rushers," writes Reuter. "He was also the best player available, so fans should be happy with the selection."

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: A-

"He’s strong against the run – second in the nation behind Bosa – and his +25.9 pass rush grade ranked ninth," Palazzolo writes. "Lawson had a breakout season after a strong showing in limited time in 2014 on a loaded Clemson defense."

Dan Kadar, SB Nation: B+

"Leading up to the draft, it was clear the Bills needed to get a player on the defensive line," Kadar writes. "With Mario Williams in Miami, it was especially important to get a player who can rush the passer. That's what Lawson can do, and likely why he was the pick over the number of other defensive linemen who were available."

Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated: B

"Don't call Lawson a one-year wonder — it was tough for him to find starting time earlier in his career along Clemson's deep line," writes Farrar. "He amassed 35 solo tackles, 12.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss in 2015, and he combined the edge speed to beat tackles outside with the power to move guards inside."