The San Francisco 49ers would appear to have some serious interest in Clemson pass rusher Shaq Lawson. College Football 24/7 (part of NFL.com) spoke to Lawson on Thursday, and he discussed plans to meet with the 49ers, Carolina Panthers, and Dallas Cowboys.
Lawson said he will conduct a private workout with the 49ers on Thursday, March 24, and then visit Santa Clara on April 10. He will workout for the Panthers on March 22 and visit Charlotte April 7, and visit the Cowboys facilities on April 5. He likely will have other visits, and he also has a medical re-check on a prior shoulder injury in Indianapolis on April 15. This followed a Combine interview with the 49ers.
Lawson measured in at the Combine at 6'3, 269 pounds. He has 32 3/4" arms and 10" hands. He ran a 4.70 40 and had a 33" vertical leap and 120" broad jump. He's already big enough to be an outside linebacker for the 49ers, although he might need to cut down just a little bit. He seems best suited either as a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE.
Lawson is projected as a first round pick. User LI49er put together a scouting report on Lawson last week, and here are a few of this thoughts from the conclusion:
[T]he consensus among scouts and GM's is that at the next level Lawson might best be utilized as a 3-4 outside linebacker, which is great news if you are a 49ers fan. New Defensive Coordinator Jim O'Neil ran a 3-4 defense at Cleveland and new Head Coach Chip Kelly has expressed that he wants the 49ers defense in a 3-4 as well. Having Shaq Lawson opposite of Aaron Lynch can potentially be a lethal and dangerous duo and give a spark to a pass rush that is in dire need of it.
Overall, Lawson is a team-first player and relentless leader. He waited patiently as a back-up for two years before shinning in the spotlight in his one and only year as a starter at Clemson. My biggest concern for Lawson if he is drafted by the Niners is his fatigue levels. With Kelly's high-paced offense, the defense will be on the field a good amount of time. If Lawson is in fact drafted by the 49ers it will be wise to watch his fatigue levels, especially as the game wears on. Bottom line though is that he is a game changer, and stands a good chance of being an instant contributor in week 1 of the 2016 NFL season. His toughness, instincts, and competitiveness will instantly upgrade any team's Front Seven. I only expect that the tackles for loss and sacks will increase over time as Lawson adapts to the speed of the NFL.