Shaq Lawson was in the place he spent his entire college career, working out to try to impress a team to use a first-round draft pick to hire him for potentially the first half-decade or more of his professional life.
So when Lawson worked out for the Detroit Lions at Clemson during the pre-draft process, he knew he was on to something when defensive line coach Kris Kocurek told him something he didn’t expect to hear.
“We did this explosive drill that he said me and [Jadeveon] Clowney were the only people he worked out that could do an explosive drill jumping over seven bags and picking up two tennis balls on the run,” Lawson said Monday. “So that was very impressive, showed how explosive I was. They were very impressed with my workout and [to] see how athletic I was.”
Lawson, who said he sees himself as a more natural 4-3 defensive end, said he met with the Lions after the private workout, as well, to go over the franchise’s scheme. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has employed an aggressive scheme that asks ends and tackles to attack offensive linemen instead of waiting to react.
For some players, it takes time to adjust to the aggressive style of play. It doesn’t sound like it will for Lawson, who has attacked offensive linemen throughout his career. He essentially went through a Lions practice during the workout.
“I pretty much did how they practiced, their defensive ends,” Lawson said. “I did pretty much everything they did up there and we went over my film and watched my tape. He loved what kind of athlete I was.”
Whether Lawson will be available for the Lions at No. 16 is a question. Depending on the mock draft you look at, he’s either an option for Detroit, the pick for Detroit or gone by the time the Lions end up on the clock. He’s a surefire first-round prospect who the Lions could pair well with Ezekiel Ansah.
Lawson said he visited Dallas, Carolina and Chicago in addition to his workouts.
One of the questions on Lawson has been his shoulder. He said that it checked out well during the medical recheck in Indianapolis last week and he is not concerned about it.
“All the teams were happy with my full range of motion,” Lawson said. “Everything, they said, looked a whole lot better than when I came up there the first time. I really didn’t have a problem with it through my career until I got to the combine.
“It didn’t affect me at all in my career playing and I’ve been ready to play and ready to get back on the football field.”