FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons are expected to pick either a defensive end (Shaq Lawson) or a linebacker (Reggie Ragland/Darron Lee) with the 17th overall pick in the NFL draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday in Chicago.
Lawson, a former Clemson standout, has been in regular contact with Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox.
But is Lawson “just a guy?”
In NFL scouting terms, being called “just a guy” is a derogatory term.
Former Atlanta Falcons defensive back Louis Riddick, ESPN’s front office insider, is concerned that Lawson is a major slacker. Riddick played six seasons in the NFL, including 1992 with the Falcons.
He went on to become a scout for Washington and was their director or personnel (2005-2007). He’s also worked in Philadelphia’s front office.
“As many good splash plays as he has had, he has had too many, for me, plays where Shaq looks slow, sluggish and not very competitive,” Riddick said. “Quite honestly, in scouting terms, he looks like just a guy. That concerns me.
“I know in the scouting world, people will start (comparing) him to some other defensive players from Clemson, namely pass rushers who haven’t panned out very well. Scouts do that all the time and Clemson hasn’t had a very good run of players who’ve been successful as pass rushers in the NFL.
“I think people are trying to figure out, are we going to get more of the good splash plays that Shaq Lawson put on tape or are we going to get a lot these dog plays that we see from him. Is he going to be another one of those Clemson defensive ends who people thought were going to be good, but never panned out?”
The Falcons have drafted three Clemson defensive linemen in recent drafts: Malliciah Goodman, Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley.
Riddick, 47, played in 94 games and made eight starts over six years in the NFL. He may, himself, have been “just a guy.”
NFL DRAFT 2016 – POSITION BY POSITION SERIES
Sunday, April 17 — QUARTERBACKS
Monday — RUNNING BACKS
Tuesday – WIDE RECEIVERS
Wednesday — TIGHT ENDS
Thursday — OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Friday — DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Saturday, April 23 — LINEBACKERS
Sunday, April 24 — CORNERBACKS
D. Led’s breakdown of the cornerbacks
A look at the top 10 cornerbacks
Monday, April 25 — SAFETIES
D. Led’s breakdown of the Safeties
A look at the top 10 Safeties
Tuesday, April 26
D. Led’s breakdown of the Specialists, kickers, punters and returners
Position by position: Specialists chart
Wednesday, April 27
Final mock draft