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2016 NFL Draft: Is Shaq Lawson the answer for the Giants?

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Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson is commonly linked to the Giants in mock drafts, but is he the right answer to help rebuild their defense?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The mock drafting community has largely been all in on defensive help for the New York Giants, and for good reason considering their lousy defense in 2015.

And among those players one of the most frequently mocked to the Giants is Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson.

Measurables

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 269 pounds

Arm Length: 32 3/4"

Hand Size: 10"

40 Time: 4.70

3-Cone: 7.16

Short Shuttle: 4.21

Vertical Jump: 33"

Broad Jump: 10'0"

Bench Press: N/A

Pros

  • Highly productive. Lawson had 24.5 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks in 2015.
  • Shows good strength at the point of attack. Can effectively bull rush and play the run
  • Generally plays with good pad level to maintain leverage.
  • Showed toughness trying to play through a knee sprain in the National Championship.
  • Among the most athletic defensive ends to test at the Combine.
  • Flashes an effective spin move.

Cons

  • Potential medical red flags. Suffered a dislocated shoulder in 2013, and played with a brace throughout 2015. Flagged by some teams for a medical re-check after the combine.
  • Tested well, but doesn't always show his athleticism on the field. Inconsistent first step, and doesn't appear particularly agile on twists.
  • Struggles to deal with pulling linemen.
  • Sometimes appears to be content to hold a block if his initial rush fails or the play is going away from him.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 14th

Mocking The Draft - 21st

CBS - 13th

Draft Tek - 10th

Does He Fit With the Giants?

Yes, Lawson does fit with the Giants.

But they'll need to do their homework on him before drafting him 10th overall.

What is the status of his shoulder? Is it a problem now? What is the likelihood that it will be a problem in the future? Shoulder issues can derail a lineman's season pretty quickly, just ask Justin Tuck or Jason Pierre-Paul. They will also have to reconcile the differences between Lawson's combine measurables and his tape. Why is his first step inconsistent? Why didn't he show all the quickness and speed on the field that he did in his workout?

Final Thoughts

It might seem like I'm nitpicking with Shaq Lawson, but when you're drafting in the top 10, you aren't just looking for, but generally need a player who will be among the best players at his position in short order. High expectations? Absolutely, and in some drafts completely unrealistic, but that's what you shoot for.

The Giants have to be planning on drafting lower the next few years. That means that they don't need to use what (could be) their best draft pick for a while on a player who will be good, but not great, player just to fill a perceived immediate need.