Since being selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Shaq Lawson knows he hasn’t lived up to expectations on Sundays.
Injuries have plagued the defensive end in his short career with the Bills.
After being labeled a “day one starter”, the 19th overall pick had shoulder surgery from a lingering injury while playing at Clemson and missed the start of his rookie season.
He played in 10 games and only 11 last year after being placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury in December.
Lawson has just six career sacks over that span.
“Last year I had to fight for my spot to earn the right to start,” Lawson said on Saturday. “This year I’m fighting for a spot trying to get it right. Each year, camp is the same for everybody. You have to earn the right to be here.”
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The 24-year-old is battling along with veteran Trent Murphy, who the Bills signed in free agency, to help shore up their pass rush and run defense.
Heading into the camp this year, Lawson is noticeably slimmer and said he’s working on more finesse moves rather than power rushing, which he admits he focused too much on especially last year.
“He’s impressed with my weight. I look explosive and fast,” Lawson said of his talks with head coach Sean McDermott. “I’m feeling great. I feel light, running fast and feeling great.”
“I think that’s the biggest thing, that he continues going forward what he started off with these first two days. He’s in a good place, looks like he’s in shape, and ready to go,” McDermott said.
“Look, I’m not going to hide behind [the fact that] there’s a strong competition there between a few guys, including Trent Murphy, Shaq, and so it’s time for him to step up. I look forward to him doing that through training camp and on through the season.”