Shaq Lawson visited Valley Ranch on Monday as one of the teams 30 allotted predraft visits. The strange part is, mums the word where the Cowboys in-house media is concerned.
A source close to the Cowboys told me they have legitimate interest in the Tigers’ All-American defensive end. Shaq Lawson amassed 12.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for losses in 2015. Despite playing injured, he racked up two sacks in the National Championship game vs Alabama.
Per NFL Network reporter, Rand Getlin, Shaq Lawson spent more than 6 hours with the Cowboys staff.
It is my belief that the Cowboys in-house media keeping the lengthy visit on the down-low is a strong indication they don’t want to draw any attention to their real intentions entering the 2016 NFL Draft. Players like Carson Wentz and Laquan Treadwell got extensive coverage by the teams official website.
If there is one thing we can all be sure of, it’s that the Dallas Cowboys put out a lot of smoke and mirrors at draft time. The quarterbacks have been pushed hard by the Dallas media despite the fact Jerry Jones made it clear they wont draft a quarterback with the 4th overall pick. However, it is becoming apparent to me that Jerry Jones is peddling the 4th overall pick in the draft. We all know how he likes to wheel and deal for extra picks. What better way to do so than using his media machine to make it appear as though they may be interested in several players a potential trade partner may covet.
Shaq Lawson is considered a top 15 prospect on every credible board I have looked at. He is currently listed at number 2 on ours. Joey Bosa remains the media favorite for the Cowboys despite Lawson having better numbers across the board; combined with much better speed and athletic ability. Since we ran our scouting reports on Lawson and Bosa, I have noticed some outlets “ADDED” the knock we had on Bosa from day one, to their analysis of Shaq Lawson. That knock would be a lack of burst and quickness. We previously reported that Joey Bosa is not a good fit in Rod Marinelli’s defense for that very reason.
I challenge you to put the tape on yourself. A neophyte can see that Shaq Lawson is much quicker off of the line than Joey Bosa. Sorry sports fans, we wont change our grades or reports. It all has to revert back to the film study regardless of what happens at the combine or on Pro Days. If anything, by being a top performer in the 40 yard dash (4.70) with a 1.63 10 yard split, and a top performer in the 20 yard shuttle with a time of 4.21, Shaq Lawson reaffirmed what we originally had in our scouting report.
In fact, the only DE at the combine with a faster 10 yard split, was Kamalei Correa from Boise State. He ran a 1.62, but is also 26 pounds lighter. At the end of the day, the 10 yard split is the best indicator of how quickly a pass rusher can get off of the snap and in to the backfield.
Joey Bosa ran a 4.86 40 with a 1.69 10 yard split, which also reaffirmed our original scouting report that he lacked burst off of the line and closing speed. I included the film study from our original scouting report on Shaq Lawson.
Height}Weight: 6-3 270
40 Time: 4.70
10 Yard Split: 1.63
Round: 1 #2 on our board
In his first year at Clemson in 2013, Shaq Lawson saw action in all 13 games. He logged 35 tackles and four sacks. The four sacks tied William Perry and Ricky Sapp for the most by a true freshman in Clemson history. Lawson again saw action in all 13 games as a sophomore in 2014 and made one start. He logged 44 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Lawson finally became a starter his junior year in 2015 and instantly began to draw interest from scouts.
- Shaq Lawson has a thick powerful frame with a wide upper body and thick muscular legs… Strong fast hands… Get’s good arm extension and has a good punch that he uses to control the LOS… Powerful at the point of attack… Versatile: can play in a 4-3 or 3-4… Sets a hard edge… Solid against the run or the pass… Good tackler… Excellent snap anticipation and comes off the ball low with burst and forward lean… Uses his quick hands to shed blocks… Good instincts and understands his assignments… Quick for a big guy… Imposes his will on blockers… Has the bulk to sustain double teams… Good closing speed to chase down the QB…
- Shaq Lawson is raw and only has one season as a starter… Lacks elite athletic ability and hip flex… Needs to refine his technique… Despite having a decent sized bag of tricks, he needs to learn some more pass rush moves… Relies too much on his power at times… Needs to improve his first step when trying to beat the blocker to the edge… Plays too high at times…
Overall, Shaq Lawson has all of the traits I look for in a DE. Teams avoid running the ball to his side because he is so efficient at reading run plays and meeting the ball carrier in the backfield for a loss. Lawson is a projection pick and I believe that once he develops his technique and improves his get off he will be an All-Pro defensive end. NFL Comparison: Justin Houston.
There are those who suggest the Cowboys would need to trade down if they want Shaq Lawson. My question is why? We have him at #2 on our board and I would sleep well at night taking him at #4. If he is your guy, and you like him, you draft him. The same folks who have a mid 1st round grade on Shaq Lawson, who is capable of being a day one starter, and immediate impact player, have no qualms about putting a project like Carson Wentz at 4: knowing he is in no way ready to start at the NFL level. All I can say is, some people mustn’t care too much about their credibility. I can’t wait to hear the excuses they try and make when Joey Bosa disappoints at the NFL level.
Gosh, where are all the experts who were selling Jadaveon Clowney as hard as they are Bosa? JeMarcus Russel as hard as they are Wentz? Trust me sports fans, watch some film before you listen to the guys who are more worried about grabbing a headline than their credibility as an analyst. Tom Landry never wanted the popular guys, he wanted football players. We try our best to mimic his criteria in all things football.