The San Francisco 49ers visited with quite a few players, and one who got extra attention was Clemson pass rusher Shaq Lawson. The 49ers met with him at the Combine, put him through a private workout, and hosted him for a visit in Santa Clara. They might have dodged a bullet if he was someone they were seriously considering Lawson.
The Buffalo Bills spent the 19th overall pick on Lawson, and on Monday, they announced that Lawson will undergo shoulder surgery. The team is declaring it a pro-active approach. They released the following statement.
"The Buffalo Bills are taking measures to prevent the possibility of Shaq Lawson aggravating a pre-existing shoulder condition during the season. While he could continue to play, the Bills medical staff has determined that surgery is the best course of action for the overall health of his shoulder moving forward. He had an occurrence of the condition last week, but that would not preclude him from participating in the offseason program. Shaq is scheduled for surgery tomorrow on his shoulder with a rehabilitation program to follow. A timetable for his return is still being established."
General manager Doug Whaley had this to say:
"I want to take this opportunity to commend Shaq Lawson and his representatives for putting the team first by having this surgery on his shoulder done now," Whaley said. "By doing so, he's forsaking personal goals to be 100 percent healthy when we will need him most during the regular season. Fans constantly hear us say that we want players with tremendous character who keep team goals ahead of personal ones and Shaq is a great example of this."
Schefter tweeted that Lawson would need the surgery at some point, likely after the 2016 season, and it would sideline him 4-6 months. Lawson denied that was an issue, but Schefter tweeted at least six teams felt he would need shoulder surgery. If the surgery Lawson is having has that timeline, that would bring him back at the very earliest for the first or second week of the regular season. The longer end of that timetable would put this into November. Depending on his progress, he might now open training camp on the NFI list. Just a reminder, college injuries are not considered "football injuries" for injury list purposes. That means he would not have to go on PUP or IR with this injury.
The 49ers did not spend a draft pick on a potential outside linebacker, instead adding defensive line talent in DeForest Buckner and Ronald Blair. Buckner dropping to them at No. 7 might have precluded Lawson no matter what, but I'm curious what Lawson's stock would have been if teams were not worried about his shoulder. Whatever the case, the 49ers and other teams may have dodged a bullet.