Carl Lawson was a highly-touted pass rusher coming into the 2017 NFL Draft. However, he somehow fell all the way into the fourth round, and the Cincinnati Bengals couldn’t have been happier about it.
Marvin Lewis praised Lawson throughout training camp, chomping at the bit to unleash the young pass rusher. Well, Lawson was unleashed against the Packers thanks to the Bengals gaining a lead and forcing the other team to throw the ball.
The Bengals spent most of the first two weeks on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Therefore, the Ravens and Texans were able to take a conservative approach against the Bengals. Joe Flacco only attempted 17 passes total, while DeShaun Watson attempted just 24.
However, The Bengals got up 21-7 against the Packers, and Lawson showed why Lewis has been so excited about him.
Lawson finished the game with 2.5 sacks, and he had another one that was waved off due to a substitution infraction by the Bengals. Even when Lawson didn’t get to Aaron Rodgers, he was usually disrupting the play in some way.
Maybe someone should have drafted him before the fourth round? pic.twitter.com/hScbC5aXpY— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 25, 2017
Lawson was an absolute game wrecker. The Packers had to bring extra help just to try to slow him down. They don’t exactly have a strong offensive line, but nonetheless, it’s hard not to get excited about such a dominating performance out of a rookie.
Carlos Dunlap is a really good football player and he’s been the Bengals best pass rusher since he came into the league in 2010. However, Dunlap has never really been someone that can dominate a game. Lawson on the other hand, changed how the Packers drew up their protection. Like I said before, Lawson is a game wrecker.
It’s not just Lawson's performance on the field that was impressive. His attitude post game is worth noting as well. Well known radio personality and former Bengal, Dave Lapham asked Lawson a question about his individual performance and all Lawson was concerned about was the fact that the team lost. That’s genuine unselfishness after having a breakout game, individually.
Lawson has been flashing since the first preseason game, and he finally had a breakout performance against the Packers. Although the team fell short in the end, the Bengals pass rush showed some real promise thanks to Lawson. If he can stay healthy and continue to trend upward, Lawson could become a household name around the NFL sooner rather than later.