Let’s talk about the Kansas City Chiefs pass rush in 2016.
Justin Houston’s status is firmly up in the air for the season, Dee Ford has yet to make “the leap,” and our two defensive ends, while formidable, aren’t guys you want to rely on to bring the heat game in and game out. That leaves the aging Tamba Hali as the only guy on the roster who we are sure can get to the quarterback entering 2016. Not quite the ideal scenario for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
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That is why, next week, I hope to see Shaq Lawson’s name still on the board at pick number twenty-eight. While the prevailing opinion is that he’s a top twenty pick, there’s been some talk about him sliding to the end of the first round. Should that indeed unfold next week, Dorsey would have a hard time passing him up as he’s a guy that not only can succeed Hali in a few years, but can help this year’s Chiefs in Houston’s absence.
After watching his tape on DraftBreakdown.com, I actually see a couple similarities between Hali and Lawson. First, Lawson played with both his hand in the dirt and standing up in college, much like Hali has over the course of his NFL career. And much like Hali, his build/athleticism makes him more ideally-suited for a 4-3 DE, but there’s not much doubt he’d be able to develop into a very good 3-4 OLB as well.
The second similarity between the two is how active their hands are when rushing the passer. This goes hand in hand with the great motors each of these players possesses. Rarely did I see Lawson give up on a pass rush or allow himself to get run by the quarterback; he was constantly fighting his way towards the quarterback and consistently utilizing his hands to free himself from blockers.
There’s a lot to like about Shaq Lawson, but there are also a few reasons in which his ceiling as a pass rusher could be limited. Before we get into those, let’s breakdown why he’d be able to immediately contribute to the Chiefs.
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