Carl Lawson burst on to the NFL scene with 8.5 sacks as a rookie.
After that, things didn’t develop as we might have imagined. He has only recorded 11.5 sacks in the three years since, though a big reason is that he missed most of the 2018 season with injury. Also, while he didn’t pile up the sacks, he was effective at creating pressure.
Now, though, Lawson is really showing his value to potential suitors.
He was absolutely dominant against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers last Monday, generating a season-high eight QB pressures, hitting Big-Bod six times, and getting a strip sack.
Carl Lawson generated almost twice as many pressures on Big Ben as the rest of the Bengals defense combined (only two other defenders finished with a pressure).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 22, 2020
Carl Lawson: 8 pressures*
Margus Hunt: 3 pressures
Sam Hubbard: 2 pressure
*season-high#PITvsCIN | #SeizeTheDEY
Carl Lawson: Sack and 6 QB hits. Relentless pressure. A STAR IS BORN!— Chick Ludwig (@ChickLudwig) December 22, 2020
But that is just part of a recent trend.
Over the last five weeks, he is the second best edge rusher, according to Pro Football Focus.
Wow. Let's keep this going. Not only was last night great for Carl Lawson, the last 5 weeks have been.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) December 22, 2020
His 90.3 grade over that span is only behind Khalil Mack's 90.9
Lawson is 2nd of 62 qualifying edge defenders.
The surprise? His run defense ranks 7th over that span.
Lawson came into the league with a refined set of pass rush moves, but setting the edge against the run was not a strong point for him. That is why, over the past three offseasons, he he has dedicated himself to growing in that regard, something he told us in our exclusive interview with him.
That hard work has paid off, as Lawson is the seventh highest edge rusher against the run over the last five weeks.
A free agent this offseason, it should go without question that bringing back Lawson is an absolute must. He is precisely the type of player who is highly-valued in today’s pass-heavy NFL. The Bengals finally found a linebacker that can create plays after years of poor drafting. If they think they can replace him in the Draft, they are wrong. And we know they aren’t going to go deep-sea diving into their money bin just to pay another team’s edge rusher similar money.
We talked about the impact of the Bengals’ defense in the big win over Pittsburgh in the video below:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: