At 16 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft and contingency plans from from free agency, the Detroit Lions have plenty of options open to them. It's exciting, unless you're hung up on one specific prospect over another. But the Lions staff has high praise for Shaq Lawson, defensive end out of Clemson.
The Lions have been taking numerous meetings and private drills with various former college athletes, but in a private workout, Shaq Lawson managed to stand out to defensive line coach Kris Kocurek:
#Lions had Shaq Lawson do an explosiveness drill at private workout. DL coach Kocurek told him he'd only seen 1 ever do it better: J.Clowney— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) April 17, 2016
That's particularly high praise. Although some fans might rush to the comments to sneer at any comparison to Jadeveon Clowney for whatever hangup they might have, it's impossible to forget that coming out of college and prior to injuries, Clowney was one of the most dangerous pass rushers out of college in terms of sheer dominance and physicality. The moment when Clowney blew up Michigan's Vince Smith was quite possibly one of the most viewed gifs/vines/video loops from sports in the past five years. Clowney's time away due to injury has dulled our collective memories of what kind of a monster he was expected to be; even if he never returns to being that, he was always a physical specimen coming out of college. Any comparison is a mark of high praise.
Although Lawson had some issues with his shoulder near the end of the 2015 college football season, recent medical examinations have re-checked the issue and found there will be nothing keeping him from playing in 2016 in the NFL. This was apparently a hang-up of at least a few teams, who wanted the issue clarified.
But is Shaq Lawson going to be a target for the Lions? A number of mock drafts project Shaq Lawson to go somewhere around the lower middle of the first round. In many of them, the Lions would potentially be in play, or at least watch Lawson go only a pick or two before their chance. That said, Alex Reno and myself have done two mock drafts and both times hypothesized that the Lions would pass on Lawson; this happened again in the POD community mock draft. Alex Reno wrote about Lawson in the Detroit Free Press and expressed reservations.
Still, Lions players seem just as taken with Shaq Lawson:
Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) April 18, 2016
What do you think of Shaq Lawson? Is he a high priority for the Lions, or should they be looking elsewhere?