Another one in a long list of Clemson defensive players who is likely to go early in the 2016 NFL Draft is Shaq Lawson, who has the Jets, Titans, Saints, Browns, Panthers, Cowboys, 49ers & Lions taking a good hard look at him.
The Tigers defensive end was a consensus All-American and first-team All-ACC last season, his first year as a full time starter under Dabo Swinney. He finished with 12.5 sacks and an FBS best 24.5 tackles for a loss thanks to the departure of Vic Beasley and Malliciah Goodman to the previous draft. His previous work and that one year as a starter have been enough to put him on most team’s boards as a first round pick, probably in the top 20.
Lawson is 6’3 and just shy of 270 lbs, and is probably going to appeal to both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses and is probably big enough to even handle double teams from the offensive line. But he isn’t as athletic as some teams like their main pass rushers to be and tends to get tired late in games when used in too many plays. Like a lot of young players, often forgets about the play and just focuses on his block. He needs to do a better job when it comes to recognizing how the play is developing.
Regardless of his weaknesses, teams aren’t looking at him, working him out and such to try and found out what he can give them. They’re trying to find out how early they need to take him and if they should be worried about him going too early. He’s not a once-in-a-lifetime talent, but someone who meets all the physical requirements and more, and has the potential to be an All-Pro caliber pass rusher with the right kind of guidance and minor adjustments.