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What Jets Fans Should Expect From Carl Lawson

This former Jets scout evaluates Carl Lawson, breaking down what fans can expect from his in 2022 and beyond.

New York pass rusher Carl Lawson is a $45 million dollar wildcard.

Lawson is a wildcard a because he is coming off a torn left Achilles that cost him the entire 2021 season.

If you would have asked me what Jets fans should expect prior to the injury, I would have said they are getting a good football player. 

However, now that statement has been clouded with a question mark.

Nobody knows how the injury will affect his ability to push off coming out of his stance on the right end of the Jets’ defensive line. 

It could go either way. 

He could bounce back or it could send him back to injured reserve. 

Lawson proved on 2020 game film his two previous blown out knees are not hindering him one bit. 

Because of that, I am inclined to give Lawson the benefit of the doubt. 

“I think I’ll be good to go, but it’s up to the organization and how they want to play it, what they want me doing and stuff like that,” Lawson told reporters in May. “I’ll be ready to go when my number is called. Even when I was on one leg, I was ready to go.” 

ESPN's Rich Cimini stated this offseason that Lawson “expects to be on the field for training camp in late July.” 

I went back and took an afternoon to study Lawson on game film, when he played for Cincinnati that season. I wanted to see what we should all expect from Lawson if and when he does play? 

While he didn’t set the pocket on fire, he was darn good looking for the Bengals in 2020. I walked away impressed. He wasn’t elite, but he absolutely looked like a defender who had what it took.

He showed impressive raw brute power and he gave offensive tackles everything they could handle.

Lawson was more of a pressure guy than a sack artist, but the point being, he was super disruptive, and that is worth it’s weight in gold.

As a fourth-round pick out of Auburn in 2017, Lawson burst into the pocket for Cincinnati with 8.5 sacks his rookie season. However, from that point forward, he cooled off.

Over the next three seasons, Lawson put up 11 sacks playing in 35/48 games.

Grading Carl Lawson

6-foot-2, 265 pounds

2020 Bengals’ game film reviewed: (9/27) PHI, (11/22) WSH and (1/3) BLT 

Grade: B (Good player, but not elite; he’s good enough to win with) 


Scouting Report

Powerful complete rotational end with lean frame and long arms. Brings it. Enjoys contact. Disruptive presence a good enough amount of the time. As a pass rusher showed capability of quick first step to gain leverage on the perimeter. Excellent use of quick and violent hands at the point of attack. Bullish brute strength. Above average ability to put offensive tackles on skates. Uses hands and power well in conjunction with having enough speed to work through the back door of pocket or plow back through the front door. Flashed spin back, but mostly a just a mean and no nonsense attacker. Quarterback minded. Wants to get there. Flashed burst to dart in once he has the passer in his crosshairs, but did show some rigidity and hesitation. Against the run has the kind of strength it takes to hunker down and work the point. Wrecking ball to the inside and a sure wrapping tackler. Sometimes plays contain, but otherwise is either in on the action or ends up by the pile. Good effort level and visibly got fired up. Sometimes gets stalemated, but it takes a strong effort to stop. Plays like football is important to him. 

Bottom Line

As a former Jets scout, I like Lawson’s brand of football. He has the right disposition to play in the trenches. 

The dude is a nasty physical baller who is worth every nickel, if his health is right. 

I hope Lawson can bounce back. I’m rooting for him because he plays the game the way it was meant to be played.


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