Shaq LawsonOLB/DE Clemson 

6-2 3/4 273, (U) 4.7! 1.64 Split! 

32 3/4" arms,

  33" Vert, 10' Broad!

7.18 3-Cone, 4.21 SS! 3-C 

The Clemson Three Part II.

By TOM

Lawson is such an unusual talent. He tested as a freak at the Combine, and had 10.5 Sacks last season, to go along with 23.5 TFL. He is less a one year wonder than Dodd. He has garnered 123 total tackles in three years at Clemson. He also garnered 20 Sacks, 45.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 FF, and 1 blocked kick. That is a pretty good college career. But he only had one career start coming into the 2015 season.

So he has a bit of a better track record than Dodd "He can be as good as there is in that league," Swinney said. "I think he's a 1st round talent. When people get a hold of Shaq and get to know him, they'll love him. Because he's such a low-maintenance guy. He loves to play, he loves to practice. He's very coachable. He loves to study film, and he's a very smart football player. People look at him as a superstar player, but he's a very low-maintenance guy." He was a backup to Beasley his first two seasons at Clemson.

Both Dodd and Lawson have been getting comparison to Vic Beasley, but they both are very different players. "Vic was more of a speed guy and made plays off of how fast he was," Lawson said. "I can play against the run because I'm a lot heavier than Vic. But I don't take anything away from Vic. because I learned a lot from him in the pass-rush game." Lawson is much better in the run game, especially getting into the backfield to garner some TFLs.

He and Dodd are linked at the hips in this Draft, and have almost identical stats for last season. "It hasn’t been tough," Lawson said about him and Dodd competing for Draft position. "Both of us, we’re going to come off the board, probably somewhere in the first round. I don’t care if he goes first or I go first. I’m just going to be happy because we both were in the first round and we did something a lot of people didn't do: Start one year and make it happen." They both look like legit NFL passrushers.

Lawson is always looking to rush inside. He is the best inside rushing D-end in this Draft. Which helps the defense, as they like to blitz outside his shoulder. "I feel like I'm the best D-end in this class," Lawson said. "The tape shows it all." He is also very effective bursting inside on run downs. He can burst inside the OLT and hit the RB as the QB hands it off to him. He stunted inside against Wake, and three O-linemen picked him up.

He tested out as a freak at the Combine, getting top numbers in the Short Shuttle, forty, and 10-yard split for DLs. "I was happy with my performance," Lawson said about the Combine. "Every day I trained I got better. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to show teams how explosive I was." Plus, when a 270-pound man can Broad Jump 10-feet, you have to take notice of that leg explosion.

Not the best stunter inside. He loops well, but can get caught in traffic. He likes to get low and take on the pulling guard with his shoulder and then push him and extend his arms. Great power in his hands, but he will let the OLT seal him outside on runs sometimes. He has some heavy powerful hands that can rock and jolt the OLT. He will stand up in odd fronts when Dodd puts his hand down. 

It seemed to me he stood up more than Dodd in games. "I feel like half of my sacks this year came standing up, and half with my hand in the dirt," Lawson said. "I feel comfortable with it. I felt comfortable with it when I was doing it during the linebacker drills at the Combine." I thought he looked more like he could play 3-4 OLB than Dodd. He looked more comfortable moving around in coverage and out in space.

They will stand him up a lot. He does a great job putting speed to power and punching the OLT backwards, and cutting inside into the QB. Nice quick spin move inside. I actually like him as a stand up rusher. He can power up field, and catch the RB in the Chip block, stop his pattern, and then keep going towards the QB.

He does a good job getting low, and using his hands to defend his knees from the chop block. He can gets outside to set the edge with some speed through the tight end, that is impressive. He looks like a 3-4 OLB sometimes on the field. He gets so low in the Dip and Rip that it is scary sometimes. He bursts up field, dips, and then a sudden Rip past the gut of the OLT and he panics the QB in an instant. He is such a great blend of size, burst, and speed. Nice club and duck under move that he uses to get to the QB a lot.

Previously Released:

Lawson is just the type of D-linemen teams are looking for. He can rush as a DE, and then move inside on 3rd down and rush from the inside and stop the run. He looks like a D-end, but has the feet, quickness, and agility of an OLB. Nice feet in Zone drop. A little tight swiveling the hips. He looked like the best athlete of the passrushers at the Combine, which was unexpected. He has the production and heart, the question was his athleticism. My last memory of him was playing injured in the Bowl games, where he didn't look as athletic as he is.

He looked like he could play OLB in a 3-4 at the Combine. "I see Shaq as an outside linebacker in a 3-4," an ACC coach said. "He's not the guy you want to turn loose against the quarterback, but he is the guy that will make it hard for tight ends to block him in the run game. We knew we couldn’t run at him and it changed how we called plays." New Orleans is looking for an OLB/Edgerusher for their 3-4 defense.

Lawson is another one year wonder at DE, who looks like the real deal. "At the beginning of the [2014] season I was slacking," Lawson said. "I knew I had to turn my game around the last five or six games, and that is what I did. I came out every day and practiced hard and that showed in the games. He [coach Hobby] told me I could play better than that and that I wasn't giving it my all. And then I realized my teammates needed me and I needed to come out here and practice harder every day. I just got more hungry for the ball and tried to speed my game up a little bit. I had to think that each week 'I am going to play like a starter', and after I did that I started making plays." He learned how to work harder than his opponents in 2014.

He also learned the mental aspect of the game in 2014. "I just have to get better before they leave and step into a leadership role," Lawson said. "I have to be able to study my opponents and see their weakness and see what I can do, to be able to be a pass rusher like Vic. Vic has taught me a lot about quickness. I see Vic giving effort and running around the field making plays and I feed off that energy. Once Vic makes a big play then I think I have to get in and make a big play. One game for example, against North Carolina, he had run down a pass and I loved it. I love that effort. That is what is going to get him paid. I am looking forward to that. I am ready to get to work." He took that effort in 2015, and learned to be as relentless as Vic Beasley on the field.

But it all started when he had his epiphany in Nov 2014: He had six tackles, a game-high four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 30 snaps at Wake Forest on Nov. 6; named team defensive player-of-the-game ... had four tackles and one tackle for loss in 25 snaps at No. 23 Georgia Tech on Nov. 15 ... had two tackles and one tackle for loss in 26 snaps against Georgia State on Nov. 22 ... had four tackles and one tackle for loss in 24 snaps against South Carolina on Nov. 29 ... had four tackles, a caused fumble and a blocked extra point in 19 snaps against No. 24 Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29.

He made himself unblockable this past season. "He can be as good as there is in that league," Swinney said. "I think he’s a first-round talent. When people get a hold of Shaq and get to know him, they’ll love him because he’s such a low-maintenance guy. He loves to play, he loves to practice, he’s very coachable. He loves to study film and he’s a very smart football player. People look at him as a superstar player, but he’s a very low-maintenance guy." He wants it more than most.

He hurt his knee against OK in the Orange Bowl. But played in the Champ game anyway. "So far, so good," Swinney said. "We'll see him out there today. But I think the prognosis is good at this point." He had to play through pain, and wear a knee brace. "I’ve just got to get comfortable with it," Shaq said. "I'm not really comfortable with it right now." So toughness is really not a question anymore either.

He is so quick off the snap that he gets OTs off balance right away. He is a tough guy who had a "ligament strain" in his right knee, and played through the pain to help his team in the Champ game. He might have the top inside move of any rusher in this Draft. OT's have to over protect the inside, which he uses to open up the outside rush. 

Additional Notes:

FLA ST: He likes to strike and grab the OLT first, and then combo off that. When he is getting beat up a little by a big OLT, like against FLA ST, he has a great spin move inside that frees him to the QB. He can get beat by the crack back block when he doesn't see it coming. He will stand-up sometimes in the Nickel, and will pick up the RB sneaking out of the backfield. Not bad in one on one coverage with the RB. He gets real low, and gets both hands up to jam him, and moves his feet very nicely.

UNC: He beat the crap out of the UNC tackle. He just ran past him to the QB on the first throw of the game. When his blast off the snap is good, he gets to the QB real fast. He is more of a hand fighter/power rusher, so when he adds some speed to the rush he is near impossible to stop. He will loose his balance sometimes as he tries to duck under a block, and does a remarkable job regaining his balance and continuing to the QB. Nice speed to power when he has a great blast off. He plays so well with his hands and feet in balance. Great hands and feet moving up field. He does a nice job powering the OLT straight back to set the edge, and then slapping his hands off after the RB cuts up field and tries to grab him.

Wake Forest: Lawson alertly had a nice fumble recovery against Wake. He was lined up at D-end with Boulware outside of him. Boulware sacked the QB and knocked the ball out. Lawson stunted inside, and turned up the middle of the line and saw the ball laying on the ground and pounced on it.

Alabama: I was so disappointed. He started out the Bowl game against Alabama dominating. He started off the game with a Sack on the very first play, and it was a great one. He stood up outside the ORT. He faked a little stutter step, grabbed the ORT's shoulder and then ripped around him into the QB. Then he injured his knee and was relegated to sideline cheerleader. "To go out there and play my last game as a Clemson Tiger with a bum knee, 50 percent, and see I gave maximum effort, gave it my all and did the best I could do for my team," Lawson said. "So I feel that showed a great sign of what teams are looking for, players that aren’t going to quit on you and players that are going to work hard even though they’re hurt." He got himself back in the game, but he was playing with an obvious limp.

ND: He has great power when he guesses right in the run game. He has a nice Rip outside, he combos into a spin inside. He can absorb the double team, bounce off, and find a lane to the QB. He does a good job using his hands to keep the big blockers off his shirt. He will stand up and protect the edge sometimes. He can slow down the TE, and then still get up field in the rush. I love how he keeps fighting his way to the QB after he is well blocked. Terrific at using speed to power to toss the OLT out of the way.

Oklahoma: He will Zone drop some. He has a nice outside shoulder club. He will also line up standing up. Does a nice job shooting into the backfield after the RB. He is so good at using his hands to knock the OLT's arms down, and then he is past him and hitting the QB. Needs a little work on his dip. He is the guy teams started chipping on in the second half of the season. He will drop out of the rush sometimes, and cover the RB sneaking out of the backfield. He will let the RB ride him outside sometimes. He will stand up in odd fronts, and set the edge nicely. He will over pursue sometimes, but mostly he holds his position consistently. He is alert in the rush, and will jump up and defend the pass as the QB throws. He does a nice job jamming the OLT up and back with his inside arm.

Lawson Vs UNC:

Okay, I hated that Tape (Alexander Vs Alabama), but this Tape is also short, and you get a great look at Lawson and Dobbs. I keep doing too much, and can't piece together the 1st Round to show off all the new Profiles. So this will be quick and semi-painless, as I have to put my Humpty-Dumpty Mock Draft back together again. Plus, I'm only doing this because I think the Pats, however slim, have a shot at Alexander, and I think he was made to play slot corner in the NFL, but he also looks like he can play outside as well.

Alexander #2 does a great job staying with the big Speedster Hollins. You will be hearing a lot about him next year (0:01). I like Lawson #90 as an OLB in a 3-4 a little more than Dodd. He gets a little stuck as they fake the option. But watch the second burst, from a stand up position, that blasts him past the OLT and right into the QB. That is a 270-pound edgerusher. Dobbs stunts inside and gets stuck.

Alexander bails right before the snap. Watch the feet and hips as he turns and shuffles back in off coverage. Both Lawson and Dobbs stand up here like outside linebackers in a Patriots even front. Lawson does this a lot. He tries to duck under the OLT and gets caught, but watch how he still freakishly drives the OLT back to the QB. Dobbs gets doubled by the two RBs, and can't punch them off (0:10). This is such a great look at Alexander's swivel hips as he bails sideways down field. Then watch how quick he snaps forward after he gets that foot planted (0:18). You also get a peek at how low Lawson can go. Then the slip, and watch how he regains his feet while still moving towards the QB.

Watch Alexander's feet as he weaves in front of the WR, and slows him down enough to destroy the timing of the throw. That is great coverages right there. It frustrates the WR so much that he finally reaches out and grabs Alexander and the pattern is over (0:24). Some times the rush is just about hustle. Watch Dobbs #98, who is always on the strongside. He gets caught by the ORT. But watch this stop and go move as the QB takes off. He stops, slaps the arms, and then suddenly Rips under the ORT, and forces the bad throw.

Up in press were I like him. He has outside contain. Watch the quick hop inside when the WR breaks inside. He has such great quick feet and a hop in coverage. This is a nice play by Lawson. Watch him power the OLT back, with his arms extended, to force the RB inside (0:34). Watch him move backwards down the seam like a slot corner (0:41). Remember Dobbs is a 275-pound passrusher. He is standing up here like an OLB. He charges up field, and then turns into the ORT with his long arms. He fakes inside and knocks him backwards with his hands. He sees the QB take off. So he crosses the ORT's body, and slams into the QB as he throws.

Covering in the slot. You get a great look at him transitioning into the shuffle, and then out of the shuffle into a full run. His hips are so effortless. Lawson is standing up on the edge. He bursts into the OLT's outside shoulder, and rides it right to the RB on the play action (1:00). You get a great look at Alexander hoping back in coverage. He turns it into a kind of gallop. Then watch the snap as he changes direction once he reads the play (1:16). You have to watch Lawson here. Just in case you think I'm full of it. He is standing up, and he bails right before the snap to cover the RB, like a Patriots OLB. He gets outside with nice controlled speed. Weaves between the blockers, still in coverage, right at the RB. If that pass was accurate he was going to kill that RB.

Back outside. He steps up into Press. Watch the little hop back that he likes to do. Then the effortless hips turning to run with the WR with his upper body twisted back to watch the QB. He might have the best hips in the Draft (1:23). Both Dobbs and Lawson are standing up again. Watch Lawson's blast off that gets the OLT off balance a little. Then he gets real low, and pulls his shirt down to get him even more off balance. Then he rams him into the ground and pounces on the QB (1:31). I also love him in Press on the Blindside. He can play there in the NFL. Watch the snap in the hips as he has to swivel them outside, and then watch them snap back over 180-degrees as the WR break inside (1:40). This might be my favorite play by Dobbs all year. He blasts off inside, as the linebacker is blitzing outside of him. The ORT dives down at his knees to chop him. Watch how low he goes without losing his balance. He gets his shoulder pads down so low they protect his knees, and the  ORT goes down by himself. Then he has a lane to the QB. Watch the acceleration as he bursts to the QB, and rips him down to force the bad throw. You also get a good look at Lawson getting real low and stopping the chop block with his hands.

Alexander steps up on Hollins in Press again. He bails a little before the snap, as the LBs blitzed. So the safeties are probably up. You just get to see his great feet shuffling back to keep his body in position so he can see the WR and the QB. He gives up the catch, but that was only the second catch in the first three quarter by a top prospect in next years Draft (1:48). I like the rushes of Dobbs and Lawson as well. Dobbs rushes standing up, but turns the corner a little too late. Lawson stops the TE from getting outside, and then pops the OLT back into the QB.

You great a perfect look at Alexander's technique here. He turns to the side right off the snap. Then he shuffles downfield eyeing the QB the whole way. The WR breaks in as the QB slows. This is why he goes in the 2nd Round. You would have liked to seen him get that ball, or at least make a play on it. The QB throws high and he can't make a play on it. Both Lawson and Dobbs absorb cut blocks and can't get pressure (1:58). Up in Press. This is when I like him the best. When he stays in Press and uses his feet to slow the WR, so the QB can't throw to him. See how he weaves and hops in front of him with his feet so that the WR can't get into his pattern. The QB wanted to go to him, and when he couldn't he panicked and threw the ball away (2:07). Dobbs has a nice rush. He gets a nice shoulder punch. Then a Rip. Then watch the ultra quick spin move that is so fast the ORT can't stop. Then the QB bails, and he slaps the OLT's arms down, and crosses his face for the third time. Meanwhile Lawson gets stuck in the triple team. He gets jammed by the OLT and OLG, the OLT picks up the blitzer, so the RB comes over to jam him as well.

Alexander is suddenly in inside leverage. He turns towards the WR and shuffle down field with him. Lawson blasts off a little late, but runs past the double team block. But t he TE is able to wash him past the QB. But he is able to stop, change direction, and jump on top of the QB (2:19). Watch Alexander's head and feet as he sticks to the WR like fresh dog crap on his shoe (damn puppy!). Then watch him stop as the WR cuts out, and he gives him nothing (2:29). That is just great coverage, and elite quickness and COD.

So they move him off the line and he zones it up. I don't like that decision. But watch Lawson here. He blasts off the OLT's outside shoulder. The stocky RB jams his shoulder into his gut. But he just keeps going, and shoves the ORT past the QB, and hits the QB to help make the bad pass, That looked like a 270-pound rusher there (2:48). I also like Dobbs rush as well. He blast off into the double. Shoves it off, and bounces inside, where he jams the ORT into the QB's way as he throws. He looked like a 277-pound guy on that rush.

Here Alexander is confusing things before the snap. He does that sometimes. They snap the ball before he is ready. But watch the quickness as he snaps his head back, and sees they are running right at him. Watch the elite athleticism as he leaps over the blocker. Lawson does a great job getting up field and turning the RB inside  (2:57). Alexander stays in front of the motion man, and checks the play into a match up zone. This causes confusion as he takes the guy who breaks outside, and his teammate in the middle doesn't take the deep guy (3:15). Lawson uses a little head and shoulder fake in the speed rush. He runs past the OLT into the QB. Dobbs tries to split the double. He does, but it is too late.

They have Alexander burst past the LOS for some reason (3:36). They need to calm things down a little here. They put Alexander back in Press. He turns and runs down the seam with the big WR (3:43). He switches sides again. They really move him all over the place to try and confuse the QB. He gets great position on the WR in the Flat, and the QB cannot throw into that position so he has to take off (3:54). Watch this Rip move by Dobbs. He blasts off. Slaps the arms down, and then swings his arms around as he dips and rips as quick as I've ever seen past the ORT. Watch the instant turning of the corner, as he uses the ORT's body to turn him faster.

Alexander hops inside on the fake, and then has to spin back around, putting his back to the QB and WR, and back into coverage. That was risky, but a great recovery. Meanwhile, Lawson and Dobbs do what they do best. Lawson breaks inside to hit the QB, and Dobbs runs the arc outside to try and hit the QB (4:11). Watch this coverage by Alexander. He waits for the WR in off, and then is instantly running on the WR's hip. He goes for the fake inside, and then watch the suddenness in his hips as he twists back outside to defend the pass. Those are some elite hips right there (4:20). Lawson shows his 270 pound size with a power rush into the double team. He sticks his inside shoulder into the OLT and dings him back. While Dobbs runs by the ORT, but it is too late.

Alexander Vs. UNC:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E90WWewrbWk

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Lawson's Bio:

 

I hate it when universities like Clemson don't support their athletes once they are done with them. And you have to go to other Websites like Sports-Reference.com, just to find their star players seasons Stats:


Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2013 Clemson ACC FR DE 13 16 14 30 9.5 4.0 0 0 0 1 0 0
*2014 Clemson ACC SO DE 12 16 18 34 11.5 3.5 0 0 0 0 0 0
2015 Clemson ACC JR DE 15 35 24 59 24.5 12.5 0 0 0 0 0 1
Career Clemson 67 56 123 45.5 20.0 0 0 0 1 0 1


2014 ... has 79 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 14 quarterback pressures, one pass breakup, one caused fumble and one blocked kick in 632 snaps over 26 games (one start) in his career ... first Clemson defender since Anthony Simmons (1995-96) with double figure tackles for loss as a freshman and sophomore ... listed as No. 10 defensive end in the nation by Lindy’s.

2015: Member of the Bednarik Award preseason watch list ... preseason first-team All-ACC selection by a vote of the league’s media.

2014: Had 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, five quarterback pressures and one caused fumble in 295 snaps over 13 games (one start) ... had four tackles and two quarterback pressures in 33 snaps at No. 12 Georgia on Aug. 30 ... had five tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack in 24 snaps against SC State on Sept. 6 ... had four tackles and one sack for a safety in 23 snaps against North Carolina on Sept. 27 ... had one tackle and two quarterback pressures in 22 snaps against NC State on Oct. 4 ... had two tackles in 21 snaps against Louisville on Oct. 11; it was his first career start ... had two tackles and one tackle for loss in 18 snaps at Boston College on Oct. 18 ... had four tackles in 16 snaps against Syracuse on Oct. 25 ... had six tackles, a game-high four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 30 snaps at Wake Forest on Nov. 6; named team defensive player-of-the-game ... had four tackles and one tackle for loss in 25 snaps at No. 23 Georgia Tech on Nov. 15 ... had two tackles and one tackle for loss in 26 snaps against Georgia State on Nov. 22 ... had four tackles and one tackle for loss in 24 snaps against South Carolina on Nov. 29 ... had four tackles, a caused fumble and a blocked extra point in 19 snaps against No. 24 Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29.

2013: Second-team freshman All-American by CollegeFootballNews.com and Phil Steele ... third-team freshman All-American by Athlon ... had 35 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, nine quarterback pressures and one pass breakup in 337 snaps over 13 games ... his four sacks tied William Perry (1981) and Ricky Sapp (2006) for most by a Tiger first-year freshman ... had three tackles in 30 snaps against No. 5 Georgia on Aug. 31; it was his first career game ... had four tackles, two tackles for loss and two quarterback pressures in 29 snaps against SC State on Sept. 7 ... had four tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack in 22 snaps at NC State on Sept. 19 ... had two tackles for loss, one sack and two quarterback pressures in 35 snaps at Syracuse on Oct. 5 ... had three tackles in 23 snaps against Boston College on Oct. 12 ... had one tackle and two quarterback pressures in 22 snaps at Maryland on Oct. 26 ... had two tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and two quarterback pressures in 34 snaps at Virginia on Nov. 2 ... had two tackles and one sack in 26 snaps against Georgia Tech on Nov. 14 ... had five tackles in 32 snaps against The Citadel on Nov. 23 ... had three tackles in 19 snaps at No. 9 South Carolina on Nov. 30 ... had three tackles and one sack against No. 6 Ohio State in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 ... enrolled in January ... had two tackles in the Spring Game.

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