There is no doubt the Pittsburgh Steelers are searching for several key positions in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, and pass rusher is near, or at the top, of the team’s wish list. Lawson, the Auburn EDGE rusher, got an up-close-and-personal meeting with the Steelers’ brass at the Auburn Pro Day recently when Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Joey Porter were in attendance to get a better look at a player who could be their pick in the first round, if he is still available.
Get to know Lawson better with this BTSC Draft Profile.
Weight: 261 LBS
Arm length: 31 1/2"
Hands: 10 3/8"
Has been plagued by injuries throughout his career but finally in 2016 started every game and was named First Team All SEC. Had 13.5 tackles for loss and 9 sacks on the season. Very sought out recruit coming out of high school.
Explosion off the line is the first thing that pops of the film with him. Muscular frame which indicates dedication in the weight room. Straight line speed shows up on film. Showcases the ability to convert speed into power. Has enough bend to threaten the edge, mostly as he uses his hands to gain the edge but his ability to turn the corner is attributed to his ankle flexibility (little bit of hip flexion, not a lot), allowing him to flatten to the QB. Has great technique and timing when using his hands, while also showing a strong punch that will jolt the opposing linemen. Pass rush repertoire is up to par with his mental processing, as it is clear as when he sees when a tackle over sets to swim inside and when to rush up the arch with a rip. Shows the ability set the edge vs the run.
Litany of injuries suffered in college along with with an ACL tear where he missed the season in 2014, while also missing six games in 2015 with hip injury. Below average arm length is concern and may be why he can get stuck on blocks occasionally and miss tackles. Discipline seems to be spotty when left unblocked sometimes opting to be aggressive rather than square up. Doesn’t have enough hip flexibility to be able to just dip right underneath the tackle has to create with his hands.
NFL Comparison: Dee Ford