In a recent episode of First Draft, an ESPN podcast, Todd McShay made the case for Shaq Lawson, Clemson’s one-year wonder pass-rusher. Unfortunately, he hedged his take, stating that Lawson wasn’t the athlete that Georgia’s Leonard Floyd is.
Let’s take a look at the first- through third-round edge defenders drafted since 2005 to see if this is factual. Not included in the data set are Tank Carradine, Phillip Merling, Victor Abiamiri, Shawne Merriman, Justin Tuck, Tamba Hali and Dan Cody, since I do not have full data on those players coming out of college.
We’ll look at Lawson’s combine effort through the scope of Waldo, since that’s a public metric. Speed and Explosive Power are composite scores, taking in the 40-yard dash/10-yard split and the vertical jump/broad jump, respectively. Twitch is his form of testing a player’s short shuttle, but by taking into account of a player’s 10-yard split. Agility is just simply a density adjusted three-cone.
The threshold set is going to be Lawson’s combine results, per the official combine sheet. In Speed, Lawson ranks 40th out of 112 prospects. Here are the eliminated prospects:
|Kyle Van Noy|
In Agility, Lawson ranks 16th out of the remaining 40 prospects. Here are the eliminated prospects:
Twitch narrows down the list from 16 to 5. Here are the eliminated prospects:
The last five players are Lawson, Von Miller, Melvin Ingram, Turk McBride and Bruce Irvin. I’m not going to pretend to know what the temperature on McBride was coming out, but the other three were considered athletic pass-rushers. If we ran the last filter, Explosive Power, Lawson would be sitting by himself, as no top-100 EDGE prospect since at least 2005 has been able to hit above his marks in all four measurements of Waldo’s formula.
What you think of these metrics may vary, but you can’t state that Lawson isn’t a good athlete. That’s just not true.