A big thank you to Joe Goodberry, Social Media Manager & NFL Draft Analyst for CincyJungle.com (the Bengals’ SB Nation site), for providing this quick rundown of the new Bills’ FA agent addition Manny Lawson.
Lawson played the strong side LB in a 4-3 defense for the Bengals and in a 3-4 with the 49ers. He’s a special teams staple and good character guy.
Lawson is a long, lanky LB with good straight-line speed. A sound tackler, Lawson plays the run very well and can handle the edge and play contain. He isn’t a bad coverage LB for the SAM position, but he’s not going to cover slot WRs because of his stiffness and low ball skills.
Where he struggles, is in space and as a pass rusher. Lawson is very stiff and long-legged. He doesn’t move well laterally in the open field and can be a liability in that situation. As a pass rusher, Lawson is light in the pants and can’t bend the arc or power through blockers. Most of his sacks/pressures come from being unblocked and timing his blitzes well. He really doesn’t have a go-to move to get to the QB.
Overall, he’s a low-end starter with little versatility. He’s probably a two-down run defender that offenses will try to attack if they can get him in space.