Finally we reach the man that MUST be the Bills comeback player of the year to get the Buffalo Bills into the playoffs.
Shaq Lawson was a 1st round pick last season, but missed the first six games of last year with a shoulder injury.
The shoulder injury was a major reason he fell to the Bills in the draft. What was unexpected was the play of Lorenzo Alexander who was leading the AFC in sacks when Lawson was ready to return. Alexander’s production, and Jerry Hughes on the opposite side, limited Lawson’s ability to start and make the usual impact of a 1st round selection.
The talent of Lawson justified his selection in the 1st round. The strange part of the draft was that Lawson would be playing 3-4 defensive end, which wasn’t his strength. I believe he was selected more based on Rex Ryan being a fan of Clemson than for a roster/scheme fit.
More from BuffaLowDown
- Buffalo Bills were ready to trade back if they couldn’t get Dalton Kincaid
- Grading Buffalo Bills drafting Dalton Kincaid in 2023 NFL Draft
- How the Buffalo Bills can win Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft
- Buffalo Bills having conversations about trading for DeAndre Hopkins
- Buffalo Bills Draft Rumors: Bills linked to this shocking first round target
Fast forward a full year, and Lawson’s shoulder is 100% for the first time since high school, and is playing in a 4-3 defense. The same defense he played in during college that made him one of the nations premiere pass rushers.
While the Bills haven’t made the playoffs in a long time, they have produced some of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Kyle Williams is nearing the end of his career, but Marcell Dareus should be able to be a dominant defensive tackle for years to come. With Williams close to retirement there must be a new premier player along the defensive line.
Lawson could be that player. If Lawson starts to assert himself and make an impact, the Bills defensive line could have 4 Pro-Bowlers. The depth at the Linebacker and Secondary positions may be a mute point for long stretches of the year, if the front four are getting elite pressure.
Under Doug Marrone and Jim Schwartz, we were excited for the Cold Front. It never really became anything, because Mario Williams mailed it in. That formula is still in place with Williams, Dareus, and Hughes. Now Lawson is in Williams old spot, and seems to be dedicated to the process.
Teams turned away from Lawson during the draft, because he would miss a year with his shoulder surgery. That time has been served, and he’s back in an ideal scenario for success.
If Lawson comes on strong, expect the Bills to get a lot of wins, and a lot of sacks.
Who do you think will be the Buffalo Bills comeback player of the year in 2017? Leave your thoughts below!