Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Defensive end is a popular pick for Tampa Bay, and for good reason - the Bucs have struggled to find a consistent pass-rusher to pair with Gerald McCoy for years now. The team is actually better off than most people think at offensive tackle, and this is a bit early for the remaining defensive backs or to look at wide receiver. So, here the Buccaneers address their biggest need with a big find in Shaq Lawson.
A fantastic DE prospect who can play either side, Lawson had an incredibly productive final year at Clemson. Physically, he's a monster, posting fantastic 40-yard dash and high jump numbers despite tipping the scales at 270 pounds. Lawson is a stout run defender and surprisingly quick and agile when rushing the quarterback, with good fundamental technique and the power to overwhelm opposing tackles. Finally, he has a good character record, a high motor, and is know as a dedicated worker.
Opinions vary on Lawson, with some people pointing to issues with flexibility or raw spots in his technique. However, Lawson has shown he has the physical skills to dominate in the NFL, the flexibility to play at 5-tech, 7-tech, or even at LEO, and the work ethic to improve on his faults. With Lawson, the Buccaneers get a high-floor, talented prospect, who, with a little practice at the pro level, should turn into a solid complement to McCoy and a keystone in improving the defensive line.
Mock Draft Order:
7. 49ers - DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon
8. Eagles - CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
9. Buccaneers - DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson