|Height: 6-6 | Weight: 241 | College: North Carolina State|
Lawson found a home at right defensive end as a junior after spending his first two seasons as a reserve outside linebacker. He would then team with left defensive end Mario Williams to form the premier pass rushing tandem in college football. The two would combine to sack quarterbacks a total of 39 times during their last two years. He also excelled in track and field, performing in the 60-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump with considerable success.
Super Prep rated Lawson as one of the Top 25 players (#21) in the state of North Carolina during his senior year at Eastern Wayne High School. Rivals.com rated him the 62nd-best defensive end in the country. He recorded 54 tackles and 11 sacks on defense and also rushed for 456 yards on offense during his final season, picking up Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also competed in track in four events: long jump, triple jump, 55-meter dash and the 55-meter hurdles.
Lawson appeared in every game as a reserve outside linebacker for North Carolina in 2002. He was used mostly on special teams, where he led the nation by blocking three kicks. He also made 35 tackles (20 solos) with a stop for a loss, a forced fumble and four pass break-ups. In his first-ever track event for the Wolfpack, Lawson won the long jump and triple jump titles at the Patriot Games. He also posted the fastest time in the 60-meter indoor hurdles (8.55) of any State player that year.
Lawson started twice at outside linebacker, but shifted to right defensive end for the Tangerine Bowl, earning another start at his new position in 2003. He registered 53 tackles (33 solos) with three sacks, seven stops behind the line of scrimmage and three pressures. He caused two fumbles, recovered another and batted away three passes. He also blocked two kicks. In track, he won the Atlantic Coast Conference indoor title in the long jump. During 2004 spring drills, his vertical jump was higher than the device used by the school to measure that statistic.
Elected team captain as a senior, Lawson added more than 25 pounds of bulk to his frame during the offseason. While most players would be slower with that additional weight, Lawson was timed at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash during 2005 spring drills. He was selected the team's Most Valuable Defensive Lineman after posting 58 tackles (33 solos) with 10.5 sacks and 19.5 stops for losses. He had 21 pressures, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He blocked the seventh kick of his career and also batted away four passes.
In 50 games with the Wolfpack, Lawson started 25 times. He finished with 196 tackles (125 solos) and 40 quarterback pressures. He caused five fumbles, recovered four others and deflected seventeen passes. He ranks second on the school's all-time list with seven blocked kicks and ranks fourth with 20.5 sacks for minus-163 yards. He also finished fourth in program history with 39.5 tackles for losses of 220 yards.
Positives: Has a lean, angular frame with very good upper body strength and outstanding quickness and acceleration Has the long arms needed to wreak havoc deflecting passes or blocking kicks at the line of scrimmage Has a sudden burst to gain advantage and shows superb closing speed Better playing off the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle than working off the edge of a guard. He has good spin moves and loose hips to get free and generate backside pursuit with a free lane in front of him rather than trying to work through trash Good run neutralizer when he is able to knife through the line Has the functional strength to get off the isolated block and showed better ability splitting double teams as a senior than he did in the past Able to jolt on contact when taking on ballcarriers along the perimeter Has very good body control going up to block kicks Natural pass rusher, more of a quick-twitch type that can get up field and dip a shoulder Has shown natural hands and excellent speed in limited chances as a tight end.
Negatives: Lacks the bulk needed to face up to blockers Has good upper body strength, but outside of a swim move, he fails to use his hands effectively in attempts to disengage and shed Gets high in his stance at times, letting the blocker get into his body structure and ride him out of the play Will throttle down and take a few plays off every game Has the ability to knife into the backfield, but will get held up when he does not use good hand placement Able to jolt runners on contact, but needs to show better wrap-up tackling technique (prefers to collide, drag down or arm tackle) Does not have the bulk to sit and anchor at the point of attack, making him a non-factor in the inside running game.
Lawson has a tall, lean frame, built more in the lines of a linebacker than a down lineman. He added over 25 pounds of bulk during the 2005 offseason with no loss of his impressive speed, but he has little room to add more needed bulk. He has long limbs, outstanding acceleration and super leaping ability. One of the fastest players in the country at any position, he has no trouble picking up the mental aspect of the game. He also does well in school as an Industrial Engineering major.
Lawson has explosive quickness coming off the edge, drawing comparisons to the Colts' Robert Mathis for his ability to penetrate the backfield in an instant. He might lack the ideal weight you look for in a down lineman, but he is one of the hardest workers in the weight room and delivers good pop on contact.
His sudden burst off the snap allows him to gain advantage. He shows good ability to locate and reach the ball in backside pursuit. He struggles vs. head-up blocking because of bulk issues, but is more effective containing the run on the perimeter than when working inside. He uses his hands effectively to split double teams, but when he fails to generate active arm action, he will get held up.
What you see mostly on film is his ability to knife through the line to create intense pocket pressure. He reads hats well and fights pressure, but just does not have the sand in his pants to sit and anchor at the point of attack. He has enough arm strength and hand placement to shed blocks on the perimeter and has the sudden burst to turn and head up field. However, even with his strong upper body, Lawson knows he can only beat the offensive tackle with his quickness coming off the edge.
Lawson showed improvement using his hands to keep separation and slip blocks in 2005, but outside of an effective swim move he is not as active with his hands as he needs to be. What he does is rely more on his lateral quickness and hip flip to get and edge or slip off blocks. He has the speed and acceleration to pursue long distances, but will take a few plays off every game. When he closes on a ballcarrier, he drops his weight and keeps his shoulders squared, but is more of a collision-type tackler than one who will wrap and secure.
His exceptional burst off the ball allows him to collapse the pocket coming off the edge and reach blocks. He can flip his hips, bend and turn the corner with suddenness. He just seems to be able to generate that extra burst when closing. Because of his size, he might be better suited for weak-side linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He is not really a liability vs. the run, but at the next level and at his weight, he would be a non-factor on the line as a run stopper. He does run hot and cold, but he showed renewed dedication before 2005 in his training program. Still, he is probably at the heaviest weight he will be capable of carrying on his frame without losing his key asset -- his speed.
The special teams standout blocked seven kicks during his career, ranking behind school record-holder Terrence Holt (12, 1999-2002) His three blocked kicks in 2002 led the nation and rank third in single-season school history behind four by Holt in 2001 and Mark Capuano in 1967 Registered 20.5 sacks for minus-163 yards, ranking behind Mario Williams (26.5, 2003-05), Tyler Lawrence (24, 1990-93), Carl Reeves (22.5, 1991-94) and Mike Jones (21, 1987-90) on State's career-record list Only Reeves (197) accounted for most lost yardage on sacks in a career for the Wolfpack than Lawson's 163 His 39.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 220 yards is surpassed only by Williams (55.5), Reeves (45) and Dantonio Burnette (41, 1999-2002) in school annals Only Lawson (220), Reeves (269) and Williams (237) amassed more than 200 yards on tackles for losses in a career at NC State.
All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report Listed as the most underrated pass rusher in the South by The Poor Man's Guide to the NFL Draft Started every game, except vs. Wake Forest, at right defensive end Participated in 617 plays during the regular season Recorded a career-high 58 tackles (33 solos), adding three solo hits on special teams Registered 21 pressures with four pass deflections and a blocked kick Caused and recovered a fumble Ranked second in the conference and twelfth in the nation with 10.5 sacks for minus 83 yards Only Mario Williams (14.5 in 2005) and Tyler Lawrence (11 in 1993) had more sacks in a season for the Wolfpack Only Carl Reeves (111 in 1992) had more lost yardage via sacks in a season for NC State Also ranked fourth in the conference, third on the team and 14th in the nation with 19.5 stops for losses of 112 yards He joined Reeves (135 in 1992) as the only State players to ever total more than 100 yards in losses in a season His 19.5 stops rank behind Williams (27.5 in 2005), Tyler Lawrence (21 in 1993), Stephen Tulloch (21 in 2005) and Reeves (20 in 1992) on the school's season-record list.
|2005 Game Analysis|
Virginia Tech Began the season with four tackles (3 solos), including a 2-yard sack of QB Marcus Vick in the second quarter while participating in 61 plays, but also suffered a knee sprain Head to Head Competition -- OT Jimmy Martin.
Eastern Kentucky Had four tackles (2 solos), but wreaked havoc in the backfield with five pressures Recovered a blocked punt by defensive end Mario Williams to set up a 7-yard touchdown run by State's Andre Brown late in the first quarter Head to Head Competition -- OT Jose Matthews.
North Carolina Posted seven tackles (5 solos) with three sacks for minus 27 yards, four stops for losses of 28 yards and two pressures Also had a third-and-goal pass thrown to him by QB Jay Davis that was ruled incomplete early in the first quarter (lined up at tight end) Killed a late first quarter scoring drive when Lawson teamed with defensive tackle John McCargo to sack QB Matt Baler for a 13-yard loss on a third-and-12 play In the third quarter, Lawson sacked Baker for a 9-yard loss and on the next play, he leveled tailback Barrington Edwards for a 1-yard loss on a rushing attempt Added a 12-yard sack of Baker early in the fourth quarter Head to Head Competition -- OT Brian Chacos.
Georgia Tech Collected three pressures with four solo tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss, assisting defensive end Renaldo Moses in taking down tailback P.J. Daniels behind the line of scrimmage Head to Head Competition -- OT Andrew Gardner.
Clemson Held to three tackles, but also blocked a punt early in the fourth quarter Head to Head Competition -- OT Barry Richardson.
Wake Forest Came off the bench to deliver ten tackles (8 solos) with two stops for losses of 16 yards and a pair of pressures Took down receiver Nate Morton for a 4-yard loss on an early first quarter reverse Later in that quarter, Lawson saved a potential touchdown when he chased down tailback Chris Barclay on a 37-yard run Recovered a fumble by Barclay on a third-and-4 run from the WF 26 in the third quarter, pouncing on the ball at the WF 19 to set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Wolfpack QB Marcus Stone to Tramaine Hall in the third quarter Head to Head Competition -- OT Greg Adkins.
Southern Mississippi Only made three tackles, but sacked QB Dustin Almond for a 16-yard loss, deflected a pass and harassed the USM passers with six pressures and two stops behind the line of scrimmage Was also penalized in the first quarter for illegal motion while lining up at tight end Head to Head Competition -- OT OT George Batiste.
Florida State Followed with seven tackles (5 solos), including a 1-yard sack of QB Drew Weatherford with 0:47 left, adding three stops behind the line of scrimmage and a pass deflection Head to Head Competition -- OT Cory Niblock.
Boston College Totaled eleven tackles (9 solos) with two sacks for minus 9 yards, four stops for losses of 13 yards, two pressures, a pass break-up and a forced fumble Took down tailback L.V. Whitworth for a 2-yard loss on the game's first play from scrimmage Forced BC to punt on the end of that drive when Lawson sacked QB Matt Ryan on a third-and-8 play On the Eagles next drive, Lawson sacked Ryan for an 8-yard loss, causing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Stephen Tulloch to set up a State 48-yard field goal Head to Head Competition -- OT Jeremy Trueblood.
Middle Tennessee Had another stellar performance with eleven tackles (9 solos), a 9-yard sack of QB Clint Marks on a third-and-8 play that forced the Blue Raiders to punt in the second quarter and finished with two stops for losses of 13 yards Head to Head Competition -- OT Willie Hall.
Maryland Posted six tackles Was penalized for jumping offside, but made up for that miscue by sacking QB Sam Hollenbach for a 10-yard loss Head to Head Competition -- OT Jared Gaither.
South Florida (Meineke Car Care Bowl) Closed out his career with five solo tackles and sacked QB Pat Julmiste for a 9-yard loss Head to Head Competition -- OT Theodric Watson.
Second-team All-ACC performer after ranking sixth in the conference with seven sacks for minus 55 yards Ranked third on the team with a dozen stops for losses of 74 yards and second with sixteen quarterback pressures Registered 50 tackles (39 solos) with a pair of fumble recoveries and a forced fumble Deflected four passes and blocked a punt in his first season as a starter, lining up at right defensive end in every game Co-recipient of the 2004 Cary Brewbaker Award, given to the most valuable defensive lineman Named the strength index champion for the Wolfpack linemen.
|2004 Game Analysis|
Richmond Began the season by sacking QB Stacy Tutt for a 5-yard loss, causing a fumble on that play that Lawson recovered and finished with five tackles and two stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Ohio State Made seven tackles (6 solos) with a 7-yard sack of QB Justin Zwick, three stops for minus 11 yards and a pressure
Virginia Tech Named the Walter Camp Foundation's National Defensive Player of the Week after tallying three sacks for losses of 27 yards, adding two pressures and six tackles (5 solos) on only 40 plays.
Maryland Added four tackles (3 solos), including an 8-yard sack of QB Jordan Steffy.
Miami Followed with another four hits (3 solos), a pair of pressures and a pass break-up.
Clemson Delivered two more pressures and a pair of tackles.
Georgia Tech Had his third consecutive game with two pressures, adding three solo tackles.
Florida State Credited with a season-high ten tackles (9 solos), as he sacked QB Wade Sexton for minus 8 yards, deflected a pass, recovered a fumble and stopped tailback Leon Washington twice behind the line of scrimmage.
East Carolina Only had two tackles in the season finale, but produced five pressures with two pass deflections.
Played in every game as an outside linebacker, starting vs. Texas Tech and Georgia Tech on the strong-side After the regular season, Lawson shifted to right defensive end and started there vs. Kansas in the Tangerine Bowl In 392 plays, he recorded 53 tackles (33 solos) with three sacks for minus 25 yards, seven stops for losses of 29 yards and three pressures Caused two fumbles and recovered another Blocked two punts and had five pass deflections.
|2003 Game Analysis|
Wake Forest Collected six tackles (3 solos) and a stop behind the line of scrimmage.
Texas Tech In his first career start, Lawson responded with seven tackles (6 solos) and a pressure Recovered a fumble and blocked a punt.
North Carolina Followed with six tackles (4 solos), as he deflected a pass and sacked QB Darian Durant for a 9-yard loss.
Georgia Tech Only made two tackles, but sacked QB Reggie Ball for minus 4 yards.
Duke Registered a 12-yard sack, as he caused and recovered a fumble and was in on six tackles (4 solos), including three stops for minus 14 yards.
Kansas (Tangerine Bowl) In his first game as a defensive end, Lawson delivered eight tackles (4 solos) on only 40 plays Had a stop behind the line of scrimmage, a pass break-up and blocked a punt.
Played in every game as a reserve outside linebacker Recorded 35 tackles (20 solos) with a stop for a 5-yard loss on 144 plays Caused a fumble and deflected four passes Led the nation with three blocked punts, and was the co-winner of the Pack's Most Valuable Specialist Award.
|2002 Game Analysis|
Massachusetts Had the first blocked punt for his career.
Clemson Blocked a punt that safety Terrence Holt recovered and returned 39 yards for a touchdown.
Florida State Blocked a punt that resulted in a safety.
Virginia Registered seven tackles with two third-down stops.
Notre Dame (Gator Bowl) Registered nine tackles in only 21 plays.
2005: Suffered a slight knee sprain in the season opener vs. Virginia Tech (9/04).
Campus: 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash 385-pound bench press 340-pound power clean 39-inch vertical jump 11'7" broad jump 35 -inch arm length 9 -inch hands.
Lettered twice on North Carolina State's track teams (2002-03), competing in the long jump, triple jump, 60-meter hurdle and was a member of the 4x100 relay team.
2003-04 Season Competed on the track squad during the winter and spring, winning the ACC title in the indoor long jump with a mark of 24' 3-1/2 Finished second in that event outdoors with a 24'1/2 mark, he finished fifth in the outdoor triple jump (41'1/4) and fourth with the 4x100 meter relay with a time of 41.25 seconds.
2002-03 Season Competed with the Wolfpack track squad in the spring of 2003 In his first meet, he won the long jump and the triple jump in the Patriot Games Also captured first in the Carolina Heels Challenge in long jump and second in the long jump Posted the fastest time in the 60 meter hurdles (indoors) for NC State that season (8.55).
Attended Eastern Wayne (Goldsboro, N.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Joe Mitchell Super Prep rated Lawson as one of the Top 25 players (#21) in the state of North Carolina during his senior year Rivals.com rated him the 62nd-best defensive end in the country Recorded 54 tackles and 11 sacks on defense and also rushed for 456 yards on offense during his final season, picking up Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors Also competed in track in four events: long jump, triple jump, 55-meter dash, and the 55-meter hurdles.
Industrial Engineering major Born 7/03/84 Resides in Goldsboro, North Carolina.