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Bengal's Rookie LB Carl Lawson - Scouting Report

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NFL Rookie Report – NFL Draft 2017
Bengal’s Linebacker Carl Lawson #58

Carl Lawson has provided impact despite limited reps in the Bengals' base defense. This season, he has totaled 2.5 sacks in limited action as a situational edge rusher. He was excellent value in the 4th round, after being considered a top 40 prospect prior to his knee injury. Look for him to play a bigger role through his rookie season.

Here is his Scouting Report for Draft Insiders' in March 2017 prior to the NFL Draft 2017.

Carl Lawson #55 - 6-2, 260, Auburn - Sp. 4.65 Rating 88 - Hindu Theory: DeMarcus Lawrence
Explosive edge rusher returned to his former level of play with an outstanding 2016 performance for the Tigers, earning SEC first team honors. Compact athletic frame with an excellent first step, fine functional strength and good footwork to win off the edge with speed or power. Plays both down and up and moves well along the line, combining speed, quickness and change of direction skills. Short arms are a concern, though he plays with fine leverage and uses his power well to jar blockers and keeps them off his body to separate. Developed good play recognition instincts with experience, using his first step to gain a fast advantage. With developed hand and arm technique, he improved his moves to counter and overcome his tweener size. Solid 260 lbs. frame with little growth potential. Needs to be technically sound to win vs NFL tackles. Must counter quicker and develop additional moves to beat tackles with outside move or ability to counter back underneath. Late in his career, made definite improvement in run support to become a full-time defender with the ability to sink his hips and anchor. With improved strength and better recognition skills, he can develop into a full time weakside end. Natural leverage defender comes off the ball with rare quickness to gain a fast advantage. Quick big strong hands (10 3/8”) can jolt a blocker, but must use it more often and especially throughout the down. Strong outside pass rusher wins mainly on speed, though he can win with deceptive power and ability to counter inside. Strong lower body gives him a burst to accelerate through the arc and finish. Plays with a very good pad level that takes advantage of his powerful frame to be disruptive within a short area. As a pass rusher, he has the initial speed to bend the edge and get his shoulder past blockers and translate into power to win late. Needs to develop further hand use both in his initial punch and his ability to add more moves. Shows a fine rip maneuver that he uses well, but must develop better overall moves. Most effective with his hand on the ground on the weakside in a standard 4-3 front. Though some clubs feel he is better suited for the attack backer role in a 3-4. Truly diverse athlete with the skill set to play both, though needs a creative DC to utilize his talent. Returned to play a full schedule in 2016 after missing time to two surgeries, 2014 season with an ACL injury and half the 2015 season with a hip injury. Struggles in reverse in coverage beyond the short zone. As a junior, he started 13 games with 30 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 1 FF and 9 sacks, earning 1st team SEC honors. As a sophomore, he started 7 of 7 games and made 17 tackles with 3 TFL and 1 sack. At the NFL Combine, he came in at 6’2” and 261 lbs. He ran a 4.67 time with a 9’6” BJ, 33” VL and 35 reps with a 4.19 shuttle and 7.46 three cone in a good overall performance. He is similar to DeMarcus Lawrence in body type, AA and positional versatility. Brings impact ability, pressuring the QB with the ability to run the arc and finish. May be only a situational pass rusher initially, though one who can become a difference maker. Skill set fits a starter with further development in both technique and strength. His value will be his big play ability and production. 1st round bubble prospect with big play ability, though serious durability concerns. Talented defender with the skills to carve a niche as a top situational rusher and eventually a probable starter in the right setting. Marginal top 30-40 prospect with big play ability and fine intangibles.
Draft Projection: 2nd Round