The Buffalo Bills were pleasantly surprised when Shaq Lawson was still on the board at pick 19. Buffalo wasn't expecting Lawson to be on the board at pick 19, so it was an easy choice for the Bills to make. Trevor Groves of CUTIGERS.com, Scout's Clemson site, also knew that the Bills were likely to take Lawson once they were on the clock. According to Groves, the Bills got a steal.
"Rex Ryan obviously has a great affinity for Clemson Tigers players, having coached Sammy Watkins and Jonathan Meeks in Buffalo--in addition to his son playing for Dabo Swinney's Tigers," Groves said. "So when I realized that the Bills were due to pick with Shaq Lawson's name still on the board, I had little doubt that they would grab Shaq, and I think they got a steal. He was projected to go as high as #4 to the Cowboys, and dozens of other experts had him going between #8 and #18."
Groves believes that Lawson's stats speak for themselves. He also adds that Kevin Dodd, Lawson's Clemson teammate, benefited from other teams focusing on Lawson. Dodd, according to Groves, probably stole some sacks and tackles for loss from Lawson.
Groves said, "His stats speak for themselves--leading the nation with 25.5 tackles-for-loss and tied for 5th in the nation with Texas A&M's Myles Garrett at 12.5 sacks. As impressive as those numbers are for a guy who played very little behind Vic Beasley as a freshman and sophomore, what often goes overlooked is the fact that his running mate at the other end of the line, Kevin Dodd, was 2nd in the nation with 23.5 TFL's and 6th in sacks with 12! In my opinion, Dodd was often the beneficiary of teams focusing on mitigating Shaq, and he also probably stole a few would-be sacks and TFL's from Shaq's stat sheet."
Lawson was a great choice by the Bills simply based upon his production and the hole that he immediately fills. However, Groves also said that Lawson brings much more than his stats to the Bills. You won't see Lawson taking plays off and he works just as hard on the practice field as he does during games according to Groves.
"What the numbers don't tell you is Shaq's character and heart," said Groves. "He is a great vocal leader in the locker room and on the sideline, but more than that he leads by example. Dabo Swinney and Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables would tell you that he is the hardest worker on the team and gives his all at every single practice. When your best players work that hard in practice, it forces everyone on the team to work just as hard. He does not take plays off, and he finishes every play. His heart and toughness were fully exhibited in the National Championship Game, when he recorded 2 sacks despite playing on a sprained knee."
Buffalo's first round pick is a complete player and Groves sees Lawson making an immediate impact with Buffalo.
"In Shaq, you're getting a complete DE who is just as adept at setting the edge and stopping the run as he is at rushing the passer. That was the biggest distinction between Shaq and his predecessor, Vic Beasley, who was a sack specialist. I believe Shaq can come in and have an immediate impact on the Bills' defense, and he should feel right at home with his Clemson Family--Watkins, Meeks and Rex Ryan--showing him the ropes. The first round of the Draft happened to be on the 5-year anniversary of the death of Shaq's father, so it had to be an incredibly emotional day for him."
Lawson will be surrounded by plenty of talent on the field in Buffalo and if he immediately comes in and produces as Groves expects, the Bills defense will be much improved this season.