Manny Lawson DE 6’5 240 North Carolina St.
By: Robert Davis
NFL Combine Stats: 40-yard dash - 4.43, vertical jump - 39.5"
Manny Lawson is one of the truly elite athletes in college football. Not only has he found time to play both end and linebacker, he’s also a track standout having competed in the long jump and hurdles during his time at NC St. As a linebacker in 2002, Lawson had 35 tackles, with one of them coming for loss. As a part time starter in 2003, he improved on all his numbers. He totaled 53 tackles, seven for loss, with three sacks. Lawson made the switch to DE in 2004, and became a full time starter for the first time in his career. On the year, he finished with 50 tackles, 12 for loss, and seven sacks. As a senior, Manny put it all together. He finished the season with career highs across the board: 58 tackles, 19.5 for loss, and 10.5 sacks.
Lawson is an absolute freak of an athlete. He has excellent agility, closing speed, and jumping ability. Pound for pound, he may also be the strongest player in the draft. There is not a single physical trait he lacks. On the football field, he is an emerging talent. He did not make too many plays early on, but once he moved to defensive end, he started to show his pass rushing ability. His upside is tremendous, and he could be a standout pass rusher at the next level. Lawson is also a standout special teamer.
With all his athletic gifts, he is prone to relying on them too often. A major part of that is due to his inexperience on the defensive line. As an end, he lacks the bulk to be a player against the run. Lawson carries the tweener tag, but that has not been a negative lately. Still, he may only fit for certain teams.
Manny Lawson has tremendous upside. As a pass rusher, he has as much pure talent as anyone in the draft. He is listed here as a defensive end, but he has the ability to play OLB in a 3-4 defense. Lawson is the type of player that makes team drool about his potential because of his physical talent. Pass rushers are put at a premium, so do not be surprised to see him crack the first round.
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