Myth: Shaq Lawson Isn’t Athletic

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:

Ryan Kerrigan
Michael Johnson
Chris Gocong
Jamie Collins
Dan Bazuin
Clint Sintim
Gaines Adams
Andre Branch
Jason Jones
J.J. Watt
Robert Ayers
Derrick Morgan
Barkevious Mingo
Marcus Smith
Shawn Crable
Scott Crichton
David Veikune
Jerry Hughes
Lawrence Jackson
Courtney Upshaw
Derrick Harvey
LaMarr Woodley
DeMarcus Ware
Olivier Vernon
Kamerion Wimbley
Charles Johnson
Jarron Gilbert
Khalil Mack
Sam Montgomery
Anthony Spencer
Anthony Barr
Jason Pierre-Paul
Dion Jordan
Jake Bequette
Jermaine Cunningham
Kony Ealy
Paul Kruger
Dee Ford
Aaron Maybin
David Pollack
Matt Roth
Larry English
Quentin Moses
Erasmus James
Kyle Van Noy
Darryl Blackstock
Anthony Chickillo
Sergio Kindle
Mathias Kiwanuka
Jarvis Moss
Will Clarke
Aldon Smith
Vincent Burns
DeMarcus Lawrence
Bjorn Werner
Koa Misi
Chandler Jones
Daniel Te’o-Nesheim
Cody Brown
Alex Carrington
Tyrone Crawford
Jason Hatcher
Darryl Tapp
Ikaika Alama-Francis
Akeem Ayers
Matt Shaughnessy
Frostee Rucker
Da’Quan Bowers
Trent Murphy
Jarvis Jones
Vinny Curry
Damontre Moore

In Agility, Lawson ranks 16th out of the remaining 40 prospects. Here are the eliminated prospects:

Brooks Reed
Shea McClellin
Ezekiel Ansah
Clay Matthews
Adrian Clayborn
Robert Quinn
Carlos Dunlap
Manny Lawson
Datone Jones
Nick Perry
Dontay Moch
Martez Wilson
Whitney Mercilus
Tim Crowder
Corey Lemonier
Allen Bailey
Brian Orakpo
Jadeveon Clowney
Jabaal Sheard
Quentin Groves
Jeremiah Attaochu
Quinton Coples
Everette Brown
Chris Ellis

Twitch narrows down the list from 16 to 5. Here are the eliminated prospects:

Adam Carriker
Jamaal Anderson
Brandon Graham
Connor Barwin
Chris Long
Cameron Jordan
Jason Worilds
Justin Houston
Mario Williams
Vernon Gholston
Cliff Avril

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.

Justis Mosqueda

Veteran media hack with coaching experience and several vices. I know how to use Excel better than you.

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