ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Defensive end Shaq Lawson, who was drafted 19th overall by the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, insists that he won't need surgery on his right shoulder, despite a report saying six teams believe otherwise.
Sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Thursday night that Lawson, the former Clemson standout, will require surgery, likely after the upcoming season, that will sideline him four to six months. Lawson, however, said on a conference call later Thursday night that the injury occurred as a freshman in 2013 and that there was "no truth" to the report.
"If I didn't have surgery my freshman year, why would I need surgery now?" Lawson said. "I can still play ball."
Bills general manager Doug Whaley downplayed the injury when speaking to reporters after the selection.
"[Our] medical staff cleared him, said he can play," Whaley said. "Now, if something happens, it's going to happen. But it's nothing that we're real worried about or we wouldn't have taken him. We got complete faith in our medical staff and they signed off on him, so we're excited to have him."
Lawson said his shoulder was flagged by the Jacksonville Jaguars for a follow-up during February's scouting combine, necessitating a return trip to Indianapolis for a medical re-check earlier this month. One of the draft's top pass-rushing prospects, Lawson told ESPN that teams were encouraged with the re-check.
"All the teams were happy," Lawson said. "I have a full range of motion, and they said [the shoulder] looks a whole lot better from when I came up there [to Indianapolis] the first time. I really didn't have a problem with it [the shoulder] at school."
Whaley said Lawson is expected to become an immediate starter at outside linebacker in Bills coach Rex Ryan's 3-4 defensive scheme.
Said Lawson: "I know where I'm at. I'm just ready to play football at 100 percent."