Shaq Lawson is considered by many, myself included, to be the best right defensive end prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was a 2015 Consensus All-America and led the nation with 25.5 tackles for loss to go along with 12.5 sacks.
Per an article by College 24/7 writer, Chase Goodbread, Shaq Lawson’s schedule of private workouts and visits is getting busy quickly, and two major reasons are the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.
Both clubs have arranged for both a private workout and a Lawson visit to team facilities in the coming weeks, Lawson told College Football 24/7 on Thursday. Lawson’s first private workout will be with Carolina next Tuesday, with a workout for the 49ers set for two days later. His visit to the Panthers‘ facilities will be April 7, then it’s a cross-country trip to San Francisco set for April 10.
The Dallas Cowboys are in on the action, too. Lawson will visit “Jerry World” on April 5. Amid all that activity, Lawson will also squeeze in a trip to Indianapolis for a medical re-check on an old shoulder injury on April 15.
As one of the top defensive ends in the 2016 NFL Draft, it’s no surprise that Lawson is drawing this kind of attention. He also reportedly had dinner with members of the New Orleans Saints staff the night before Clemson’s pro day last week, along with several other Clemson defensive prospects.
Shaq Lawson sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in the Orange Bowl on New Years eve, but if you watched him play against Alabama, it didn’t appear to slow him down. It had been reported that Lawson said his pain level was eight on a scale of ten and he could barely walk during Thursdays walk through. . This is a strong indicator of his toughness and willingness to face adversity by playing through injury. Despite playing with the injury, he racked up 4 tackles, 2 sacks and several tackles for loss in a losing effort vs the Crimson Tide.
Shaq Lawson, DE
Height}Weight: 6-3 270
Arms: 32 3/4″
40 Time: 4.70 (Top Performer)
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.21 (Top Performer)
Round: 1 #2 on our board
The Dallas Cowboys have pigeon holed themselves in to a situation where they are desperate for a right defensive end. As of now, they don’t have one. Greg Hardy is an unrestricted free agent and didn’t live up to expectations. Hardy was nothing but trouble while in Dallas. He was disrespectful to coaches, late for meetings and his childish rants on the sidelines were uncalled for. The veteran Jeremy Mincey is also an unrestricted free agent and the Cowboys are yet to sign a decent starter. The top prospects were commanding exuberant salaries and the second tier guys have all been scooped up by other teams.
Adding to this dire situation, the Cowboys’ 2015 2nd round draft pick, Randy Gregory, still hasn’t grown up: nor has he taken his NFL career seriously. After failing several drug tests he has been suspended for the first 4 games of the season. What could be worse? The Cowboys 2015 sack leader, DeMarcus Lawrence, is coming off of back surgery. Lawrence was one of the prospects we promoted here at YDCFF prior to the draft and has developed in to the solid LDE we knew he could.
However, there is a 15-20% chance of an every day working stiff re-injuring a herniated disc within the first 3 months. Those odds will increase dramatically for an NFL pass rusher. This means the Cowboys need to be cautious not to rush him back too soon. Taking that in to consideration, it would be wise for the Cowboys to resign Mincey on a cap friendly deal so they at least have one veteran defensive end on the roster with experience as a starter.
If there are two NFL teams that have proven they do a good job of evaluating defensive talent, it’s the 49ers and the Panthers. Carolina had one of the best front sevens in the NFL last year and I can’t imagine the impact Shaq Lawson would make there. The 49ers have lost All-Pro players recently to retirement, suspension and free agency. Much like the Cowboys they are desperate for an impact player up front.
Shaq Lawson is projected as a top 15 prospect on most boards and is sitting at #2 on ours. The only way the Panthers can even get a sniff of Lawson would be to trade up. They must be willing to do so if they are scheduling a visit. The 49ers on the other hand, are sitting on the 7th overall pick. Some may expect them to draft a QB, but being they have been unable to find a trade partner for Colin Kaepernick, who signed a 6 year, $114,000,000 contract, including a $12,328,766 signing bonus, $61,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19,000,000, the cap wont allow them to pay a rookie developmental QB what the 7th overall pick would cost. Especially when they need to upgrade the defense. They know there isn’t much drop off in this class and they can get a developmental QB in a later round.
Shaq Lawson is a day one impact player: none of the QBs in this class are. They will have to roll with Blaine Gabbert and Kaepernick. With the Cowboys having the 4th overall pick, they are in the best position to get Lawson unless the Panthers, 49ers or Saints are willing to sell the farm and trade up ahead of them.
The media is trying to sell Joey Bosa to the Cowboys now that Jerry Jones made it pretty clear that the Cowboys wont use the 4th overall pick on a QB that isn’t a Troy Aikman. Bosa makes no sense to me when Shaq Lawson more than doubled his sack production in 2015,
Joey Bosa is a LDE and will be a good NFL player, but doesn’t have the quickness and athletic ability required to be an elite pass rusher at the next level. He has peaked in my mind. Lawson on the other hand, hasn’t even tapped in to his full potential yet. Knowing the Cowboys already have a LDE (Lawrence) who has shown steady improvement, it only makes sense to draft a top tier RDE to compliment him.
At the end of the day, the Cowboys biggest need entering the 2016 NFL draft is a RDE. Anyone with a brain knows it only makes sense to draft one at 4. By the time the Cowboys pick again at 34, the best pure pass rushers will be off the board.
The Cowboys need at least two defensive ends in this draft. Drafting Shaq Lawson at 4, then a developmental guy like Matt Judon in the 3rd-4th round would be ideal. I will say it now, with a year or two to develop, Matt Judon will be the best pass rusher in this class. Looking to the future, the combination of Lawrence, Lawson and Judon, makes for one hell of a pass rush.