Shaq Lawson Defensive Grade Through Nine Games:
Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Shaq Lawson slipped down to them at number 19 in the draft. Fans were ecstatic that they were able to get such a good value with the pick. Shortly after the draft, the team insisted that Lawson get shoulder surgery despite the fact that he was playing through the injury for several years.
The surgery cost Lawson the first six games of this year but he’s been back for the past three and has sacks in two out of the three NFL games he has played in. So why did we give him such a low grade with just a “C+” despite his sack production over two games?
The reason is that Lawson was expected to be one of the best defensive players available in the draft and while he has had some good plays this year, his overall play has been inconsistent. Just take a look at this take on Shaq Lawson from NFL Mocks a fellow FanSided site.
"“Nearly unblockable at times, Lawson really doesn’t seem to have a limit as a rusher. He uses his hands really well, he changes directions well, he can bend the edge, and he can play with speed, agility, power, or a combination. He is stout against the run, though this is one area of his game where, in reacting to running plays, he may have room for improvement there.”"
After watching him play for three weeks, we can’t say that he has come even close to living up to these expectations. In the three games he has played so far he has managed just 63 total snaps. If he were playing anywhere near a high level he’d be on the field for many more snaps than that no matter what defensive scheme the Bills were playing.
The rookie has been outplayed by 33-year-old Lorenzo Alexander who is having the best season of his long career and who will grade on the next slide. The fact that the first round pick hasn’t been as productive as a 33-year-old has got to be concerning for the Bills. It’s still early in Lawson’s career so there is no need to panic but he needs to do better than he is right now.
Let’s move on to grading Lorenzo Alexander on the next slide who has been one of the best stories in the NFL this year.