The Miami Dolphins were pretty much last in every defensive category in 2019. So, it makes sense they would use free agency to try to upgrade that side of the ball. New Dolphins defensive end Shaq Lawson signed a three-year contract worth $30 million with $21 million of that being guaranteed on March 22, 2020. Lawson in 2019 for the Buffalo Bills had a career year in sacks, tackles for a loss, quarterback hits as well as individual tackles. But I wouldn’t call his numbers record-shattering by and stretch of the imagination. Let’s dive into the numbers.

Six and a half sacks

Twenty-one solo tackles

Thirteen tackles for a loss

Eighteen quarterback hits

But, if we were to look at this from a statistical point of view, this would still make him the best edge rusher we have on the team. Because last season our best pass-rusher was Taco Charlton. Just for reference, here are Taco’s numbers:

Five sacks

Fourteen tackles

Three tackles for a loss

Five quarterback hits

Coming to Miami is a reunion for Lawson as he reunites with his former college teammates Cordrea Tankersley and Christian Wilkins of whom he mentored at Clemson. Lawson also reunites with his former Clemson coach who is the Dolphins defensive line coach Marion Hobby. Lawson was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft and never lived up to that first round pick status. He was meant to be a dominant presence on the defense for then-Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan, but he spent his first two seasons battling injuries and would end up losing his starting job to Trent Murphy in 2018.

Fast-forward to 2019, Lawson’s best game was against the Denver Broncos. He made an open-field sack in the second quarter and another viscous sack charging the line of scrimmage. Both were against backup Broncos quarterback Brandon Allen. I see that game as an exception to Lawson’s playmaking ability. Most games, Lawson is pretty much a non-factor. Occasionally, he’ll make a good play but its the consistency that has been missing. Stuffing the running back for a loss here; forcing a penalty on an opposing offensive-lineman there.

Some players just need a change of scenery and being around familiar faces should also help Shaq to hopefully raise his game and live up to that first round draft pick status.  He’s not Cameron Wake or Jason Taylor but he is a step in the right direction for this rebuilding franchise.