Carl Lawson was the New York Jets’ biggest free agent to sign in the 2021 class. He signed with the team on a massive three-year contract. Lawson seemed destined to break the trend the planes were struggling with missing out on a huge investment in dealerships before suffering a horrific injury. Lawson recently turned 27 and will enter the sixth year of his NFL career. We hope Lawson will provide the Jets with significant production in his second year with the team.
Brief review for 2021:
Last season was tough for Lawson. He reportedly dominated every day of training camp and the best field player for the jets. For a long time, the Jets lacked dominant edge passes at game-breaking speed, and Lawson looked like he would finish that last summer. In training with the Green Bay Packers, Lawson suffered a devastating Achilles injury. It took a lot from the Jets and their fan base. Lawson seemed ready to deliver a big thrill. His influence was heavily overlooked because the Jets had no sprinting speed outside most of the year. Vinnie Curry ended up not playing any game last year. Bryce Huff was also injured mid-season.
Lawson is not the tallest at 6 feet 2 or the tallest at 31 and a half arms. However, he has a good size of 265 pounds and a large 10 3/8 hand. Lawson is fast and powerful at the same time as a fast passer. He is a very good athlete and has strength in play as well. Lawson is an advanced rusher with his consistent plan and variety of moves. He also has a clever manual technique that enables him to win.
Lawson will be counted as the top lunge for passing the Jets over the edge. In third touchdowns in particular, as well as in two-minute situations and late in games, he will need to make his impact felt. Lawson must routinely generate splash plays for defense with his ability to get a quarterback. In early landings and run-down situations, it would be interesting to see what Lawson is used for. The jets will run the defensive line a ton, but Lawson still has to get a decent amount of play time on the first and second down. Playing nearly 60% of defense shots is a reasonable expectation for Lawson this year.
Over the course of the three seasons, Lawson played 12 or more games, scoring five, 5.5 and 8.5 sacks. If he plays in or near all 17 games, expect a similar type of sack production. Getting seven bags this year would be good for Lawson. The other key point with Lawson is pressure generation. In 2020, he posted an impressive 64 total presses (four per game). Coming off injury, if Lawson can generate close to 50 pressings (three per game), he’ll go a long way for the Jets’ defense.
Final preview ideas:
Lawson could make a huge difference in the 2022 Jets. He is a naturally gifted passing player with his speed, strength, movement and technique. I hope he is in good health. If so, he has the talent to drastically improve that defense that struggled so hard a year ago. Creating consistent pressure in critical situations will be the main point of focus. Expect a very good comeback from Lawson in his second year with the Gates.