“The Giants spent a truckload of money in free agency on defensive playmakers -- DE Olivier Vernon, CB Janoris Jenkins and DT Damon Harrison,” McShay said. “That's a good start for a team that hasn't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011, but the Giants shouldn't stop there. Lawson led the FBS last season with 25.5 tackles for loss, playing with a good mixture of relentlessness, technique and discipline. He also brings great work ethic and intangibles to the table.”
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At the NFL Scouting Combine last month in Indianapolis, the 6-foot-3, 269-pound All-American finished in the top five among defensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (4.70 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.21).
McShay’s latest projection made a return to the defensive side of the ball. In his third mock draft, he had Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott (now to the Dolphins at No. 13). In his second version, he projected Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (now to the Saints at No. 12).
“Joseph is one of the more violent and efficient tacklers we've studied in the past five years at the safety position,” McShay said. “And he showed improved range in coverage and ball skills in 2015, finishing with five interceptions in four games.”
Meanwhile, ESPN colleague Mel Kiper Jr. also had Lawson for the Giants at No. 10 in his latest mock draft, which he released prior to the start of free agency.
“Full arsenal. Quickness, spin moves, rips, power. Lawson also has a special knack for finding the ball early,” Kiper wrote. “Lawson has tremendous quickness for his size (275 pounds), which means you can use him as an edge rusher in a 4-3 setup. He'll gain polish, but there's a lot to work with here.”