CFB Player Bracket: Carl Lawson vs. Myles Garrett
The competition grows stiffer as we move on to Round 2. This matchup features two elite SEC pass rushers with bright NFL futures. Auburn’s Carl Lawson has been productive when healthy, while Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett has been one of the most productive edge defenders in all of FBS the past two seasons.
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The Case for Carl Lawson
Lawson has arguably been the best defensive player at Auburn since he arrived on campus and made his presence felt in his first freshman game. Unfortunately, Lawson’s career at Auburn has been hindered by injuries. He missed the entire 2014 season due to an ACL injury suffered in the spring. In 2015 he was very productive in the first game of the season with two sacks, one hit and one hurry but suffered a hip injury during the game that prevented him from returning to game action until Week 9. Lawson was effective for the next five weeks but still after a few weeks of rest he was dominant in the Birmingham Bowl game posting one sack and eight hurries.
As a pass rusher, Lawson can rush from both sides and even has the ability to rush from the defensive tackle position. He had three sacks, two hits and 23 hurries on only 192 pass rushes in 2015. He has a quick first step and the burst and bend to beat tackles outside. He uses a rip, hand swat, long arm, and a bull rush. He is a strong rusher who can power through half a blocker on his way to the quarterback. Lawson’s ability to rush from both sides, his quick first step, strength and array of pass rush moves should see him as one of the best edge rushers in the country in 2016.
The Case for Myles Garrett
Myles Garrett is hands down one of the best college football players in the country. Garrett’s +52.8 overall grade and his +42.4 pass rush grade both rank No.2 among all returning FBS edge defenders. Garrett is a rare physical blend of size (6-5, 255 pounds), speed and flexibility who looks and moves like a basketball player. Garrett has tremendous explosion and flexibility in his lower body which gives him the ability to run through blockers or to bend around them. Garrett studies the opposition’s snap count during games and can really get a jump on opposing tackles.
When rushing the passer Garrett has a very effective hard inside move on his second step. He also uses that to set up an inside head fake with a hand swat move. He’ll use a club and rip and a long arm rush to help him win outside in addition to his pure speed rush which is deadly when combined with the jump he can get off the snap. In 2015 Garrett had 11 sacks, 11 hits and 24 hurries, followed 11 sacks, nine hits and 45 hurries in 2014. We have every reason to expect another impressive year from Garrett and he deserves to move on in this competition.
The Verdict: Myles Garrett advances
This was a tough draw for Carl Lawson going up against Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett. Both of these players are stout run defenders and tremendous pass rushers. A healthy Carl Lawson should be one of the more productive edge rushers in all of FBS and a future NFL draft pick. However, while Lawson is one of the better pass rushers in the country, Myles Garrett arguably is the best pass rusher in the country. Garrett’s production far outweighs Lawson’s and combined with his size and movement ability, he advances.