Name: Carl Lawson
Position fit: Edge defender, either outside linebacker in a 3-4 or defensive end in a 4-3
Stats to know: Averaged a sack, hit or hurry once every 5.4 pass rushing attempts in 2016
What he does best:
- Wins as a pass-rusher in variety of ways. Picked up sacks, hits and hurries on outside moves, inside moves, bull rushes and on spin moves.
- Consistent pass-rush threat. Had just one game in 2016 where he failed to register at least three total pressures.
- Finally put together a full season after missing all of 2014 and half of 2015 through injury.
- Uses his hands very well as a pass-rusher, helping him to a pass-rushing productivity rating of 15.1, ranking ninth among 3-4 outside linebackers.
- Responsible for three of the 14 total pressures charged to Mississippi State right tackle Justin Senior, a draftable prospect, beating him for a sack and two hurries.
- Productive when kicking inside to rush the passer, creating pressure on 40 percent of his rushes in between the tackles
- Has flashed against the run, with 11 of his 13 tackles resulting in a defensive stop. Still has room to grow here.
- While he has flashed against the run, has lacked consistency. 11 of his 13 tackles may have resulted in a defensive stop, but his run stop percentage of just 4.5 percent was seventh-worst among 3-4 outside linebackers in the SEC.
- Missed a season and a half of playing time over his college career. Leaves a lower sample size than you would like to see.
- Had some struggles against pull blocks in the running game. Just one positively graded play in this area in 2016.
- Not a consistent problem, but was caught losing contain or overpursuing five times in 2016.
- Could be more disciplined. Had six offsides or neutral zone infraction penalties in 2016.
Player Comparison: Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
Wake has never really been a dominant player against the run, but has consistently been one of the league's top pass-rushers since entering the league in 2009.
Bottom line: The lack of consistency and overall production against the run is something of a concern with Lawson, but his talent as a pass-rusher is impossible to deny. In the very least though, he has the talent teams are going to fall in love with as a pass-rusher.