Prospect: Zeiqui Lawton
Status: SI All-American candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 240 pounds
Position: Defensive Line
School: Charleston (W.Va) South Charleston
Schools of Interest: Oregon, West Virginia, Boise State, Cincinnati, and Illinois. Projected Position: Edge
Frame: Thick frame with a powerful chest and good arm definition. Low-cut trunk with big thighs and hips.
Athleticism: Posted a 33.5-inch vertical jump last spring. Better linear athleticism than lateral agility and quick change of direction ability. Very good play strength and point of attack power. Comfortable setting edges and stacking with good punch extension. Good linear closing ability to finish on ball.
Instincts: Quick to find ball post-snap and good eyes to see through traffic. Punches with strength and lockout, peak and react. he can quickly shed with power when needed. Alert to surf laterally across the line to squeeze to the ball. Attempts to rip to run after clearing his hips through blockers. Plays with impressive physicality, toughness, and effort.
Polish: Mainly plays on the edge from a 2-point stance. Also has lined up as nose in goal-line packages. Appears to have a solid pass-rush plan with a varied toolbox. Has displayed a long-arm stab with good hand-placement accuracy, as well as a swim, chop, grab-and-snatch, and a stutter-and-go among pass-rush moves. Will try to gator tackle when possible upon his finishing on passers. He is tight in the hips and has some problems cornering cleanly, evidenced by his requiring of an extra step to flatten.
Bottom Line: Although he’s listed as a defensive end, Lawton’s skill set is of a classic stand-up edge/on-ball linebacker. Lawton could have some issues if asked to play in space in coverage, but he has good play strength and toughness to set an edge in the run game, and he can put together a diverse plan as a pass-rusher. He projects best on the ball as a Stud-type ’backer in a defense with a 3-4 or 3-3-5 base alignment.