DE Carl Lawson, Auburn*

6’2” – 253 lbs. – 4.80e

Worked into the defensive line rotation as a true freshman, but missed the following season after tearing his ACL. Became the team’s starter at the “buck” (end/linebacker) position in 2015 and was named a team captain, but only appeared in seven games due to a hip injury. Rebounded and had a productive season in 2016 before declaring. Has adequate height, a thick, muscular build, and seemingly long limbs; looks the part of a pro pass-rusher. As the team’s buck, lines up on both sides of the line, rushing out of two and three-point stances. Very good on-field demeanor; tough and physical at the point of attack, with a good motor. Has adequate burst, but is not one of the fastest rushers in the class. Pretty skilled rusher who knows what to do with his hands when he’s trying to reach the quarterback. Makes a smooth arc back to the passer, with the ability to dip his shoulder and rip past on the edge. Has enough counters to threaten passers even if his first move is unsuccessful. Can convert speed to power as a pass-rusher and walk back opposing tackles. Radius made him a pretty reliable finisher in college, but struggles to track down passers who have escaped the pocket. Was asked to handle a lot of two-gap responsibilities versus the run at Auburn. Gets good extension with his arms, although he’ll get stuck on some blocks and doesn’t always keep his legs churning after contact. Sometimes gets preoccupied with taking on blockers and loses track of the ball, although he flashes the ability to make tackles while engaged. Got victimized on some read-option plays; has a tendency to attack the quarterback, creating opportunities for other weapons on shovel passes and banana routes. That said, sets a pretty solid edge and is patient in backside contain. Willing to chase plays but doesn’t really have the speed to make many plays in pursuit. Wasn’t really asked to drop into coverage beyond defending against screen formations and doesn’t seem to have the athleticism to be used extensively in that capacity as a pro; much more of a downhill player. Not a particularly special prospect from an athletic perspective, but is already a pretty advanced pass-rusher with impressive functional strength and the type of temperament and length to play the run. Would be best as a two-gap outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense and will probably go in the second round if he checks out medically.

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