Cincinnati Bengals rookie pass rusher Carl Lawson has been among the most hyped up players of the summer, but he didn’t make a huge impact in his NFL debut.
Lawson had one tackle on Friday night in the Bengals’ preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Pro Football Focus also credited him with two pressures on 11 pass rush snaps.
The Bengals rookie edge rushing duo has been as advertised so far tonight pic.twitter.com/tT2QBBOguc— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 12, 2017
Now, news has emerged that Lawson “dinged his shoulder” in Friday night’s game and “may miss some time” though it “doesn’t look to be serious,” according to Bengals.com. A second article also referenced he “may not play Saturday” when the Bengals take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the second game of the preseason.
Even if it’s not serious, this is far from ideal news for the rookie who had a tremendous training camp and was looking to earn significant playing time in his first NFL season. Lawson fell to the fourth round of this year’s draft, in part because of injury concerns, including an ACL injury in 2014 and a cracked hip in 2015.
Lawson played 22 snaps on Friday night, while fellow rookie pass rusher Jordan Willis played 35. So, Lawson may have seen more time on Friday night if not for the injury. Lawson was PFF’s third highest graded player on the team (81.9 grade), behind fellow pass rushers and 2017 newcomers Chris Smith (89.4 PFF grade) and Willis (81.9 grade).
Here’s a look into the performance of the Bengals’ pass rushing group, which highlights Lawson, from the preseason opener from PFF:
Chris Smith (89.9 overall grade), Jordan Willis (82.2 overall grade), and Carl Lawson (81.9 overall grade) looked sharp for the Bengals, and showcased their depth at edge pass-rusher. They took a huge step with the addition of Willis and Lawson in the draft and, with Smith, the trio dominated in the first week of the preseason. The combined for one sack, three hits, and six hurries as they gave the Buccaneers offensive line a major headache all game long. Lawson finished with a game-high, impressive 15.0 pass-rush productivity mark.
The Bengals practice Monday through Thursday this week, none of which are open to the public. Hopefully we’ll learn more about the severity of Lawson’s injury in the coming days.
The Bengals play the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET at Paul Brown Stadium. Hopefully Lawson gets better soon and can make it on the field for the game. If not, he’ll have more than a week following that game to prepare for the Bengals’ third preseason contest, which comes against Washington on Sunday, August 27 at 4:30 p.m. ET.