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You wouldn't know it to look at his sack numbers, but Lawson has been an effective pass rusher since entering the league. That's why he tied for 2nd-largest annual average ($15 million) among edge players who signed free-agent contracts this offseason, despite totaling just 10.5 sacks over the past 2 years. Only T.J. Watt, Za'Darius Smith and Joey Bosa compiled more QB hits than Lawson over that span. His 10.5 sacks, meanwhile, rank just 55th.
The Jets clearly believe in Lawson being able to convert more of his pressures into sacks. And they're now led by Robert Saleh, who piloted San Francisco's defense to top 5 finishes in yardage the past 2 seasons.
Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich says these Jets will "lean on" the D-line, with Lawson a key piece.
"I had the highest regard for him before I got here," Ulbrich adds. "He is one of the rare guys, an exceptional player, but the general public doesn't know him yet. Everyone is caught up in ... the statistical part of rushing the quarterback. He doesn't always check those boxes, but he has historical win rates. He has an obsession with the game and to see him up close, the way he studies the offense, it's as obsessed as ever seen. I'm blown away by what a student of the game he is."
There's no guarantee Lawson ever turns those pressures into sacks at a high rate. But we just might be in for a double-digit breakout. Playing next to emerging young DT Quinnen Williams certainly won't hurt.
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