New York Jets Make Wise Move, Acquire ‘Low-Risk’ Pass Rusher Lawson
The New York Jets needed help on defense...badly. Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas got that help today.
That help comes in the form of Shaq Lawson, pass rusher and former first-round pick, whom the Jets acquired from the Houston Texans earlier today. In exchange, the team parted with a sixth-round pick to acquire the 6'3", 267-pound defender out of Clemson.
Lawson hasn't had the most auspicious start to his professional career, but he comes to New York to join the island of misfit toys in their attempt to form something out of nothing.
Lawson was a beast at Clemson as a junior in 2015. He racked up 12.5 sacks in 15 games, tying him for the lead in the ACC with teammate Kevin Dodd. He had 59 total tackles that year, 24.5 of which were for a loss, in a year that saw his Clemson Tigers make it to the National Championship game.
Lawson was taken with the 19th overall selection in 2016 by the Buffalo Bills, and never quite lived up to the hype with which he entered the NFL. He did progress consistently during his four seasons in Buffalo, growing from 2.0 to 6.5 sacks, and from seven to 21 solo tackles.
The Bills did not, however, choose to pick up Lawson's fifth-year option, apparently believing that their bright future did not include him. Lawson signed with the Miami Dolphins, playing the 2020 season in Florida before a trade to Houston, and the subsequent move that brought him back to New York.
A sixth-round pick is a small price to pay for a player with first-round pedigree. This is especially true given that the Jets lost pass-rusher Carl Lawson to a season-ending injury, one of a plethora of injuries that have left New York's defense thin at best.
The worst-case scenario here? Shaq Lawson continues to struggle to find the form that made him a commodity in college, and both sides part ways. The best-case, however, is that Lawson feels comfortable in a home where he has nothing to lose, and begins to play with more confidence. Either way, the Jets made a safe and worthwhile gamble bringing him in.