As the Giants look to rebuild from a disappointing 2015 season, they will be looking to add some strong pieces on the defensive side of the ball. One of the players that the Giants may be eyeing with their first round draft pick is Clemson DE Shaquille Lawson. Lawson measures in at 6’3, 270 lbs and is built like a tank. He was a force on defense for the Tigers last year, helping his team to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the national championship game. Lawson had a breakout season in 2015, recording 25.5 tackles for loss to go along with 12.5 sacks. He was named a consensus All-American and received first-team All-ACC honors as well. Lawson is a versatile talent who can play defensive end as well as outside linebacker. Lawson makes a lot of sense for the Giants as they desperately need to add a dominant pass rusher on the outside.
Lawson certainly isn’t lacking confidence either. When he was asked how he stacks up against the other top pass-rushing prospects in the 2016 draft class, Lawson replied, “I feel like I’m the best (defensive) end in this class. The tape shows it all.” It is not surprising that Lawson is feeling confident after his performance at the NFL combine. He ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.21 seconds and the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds, both times being among the best of all defensive ends. His 40-yard dash time was even faster than Joey Bosa (4.86) who is the consensus top defensive end. This is especially impressive considering Lawson’s robust stature.
Lawson also mentioned that many teams inquired about his versatility, asking if he feels comfortable at both the defensive end and linebacker positions. "I feel like half of my sacks this (past) year came standing up and half with my hand in the dirt," Lawson said. "I feel comfortable with it. I felt comfortable with it when I was doing it during the linebacker drills at the Combine."
Lawson will look to follow in the footsteps of Vic Beasley, another Clemson edge rusher who was selected by the Falcons with the 8th pick of last years draft. Although both players were stars at Clemson, Lawson has a very different game style because of his size. Beasley was more of a speed rusher, while Lawson played with more power due to the fact that he is about 30 pounds heavier. "Vic was more of a speed guy and made plays off of how fast he was," Lawson said. "I can play against the run because I'm a lot heavier than Vic. But I don't take anything away from Vic because I learned a lot from him in the pass-rush game." Lawson seems like a great fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive system and it would not be a shock to see the Giants call his name with the 10th overall selection.