Carl Lawson

Bengals DE Carl Lawson Tears ACL, Done For Season

Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson suffered a torn ACL against the Buccaneers and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Lawson, 23, was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft and immediately contributed upon entering the NFL. While Cincinnati limited his playtime given his collegiate injury history (Lawson saw only 41% of the Bengals’ defensive snaps a year ago), he still managed to post 8.5 sacks and 21 quarterback hits, the latter of which tied him for 19th league-wide. This season, Lawson had posted only one sack, but still was ranked as a top-15 edge rusher, per Pro Football Focus.

Despite a bevy of talent up front, the Bengals entered Sunday’s contest ranked just 19th in adjusted sack rate, and they’ll now have to move on without Lawson in tow. Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson are Cincinnati’s starters at defensive end, while Sam Hubbard and Jordan Willis will continue to get rotational snaps.

The Bengals don’t currently have a defensive end on their roster, so they could conceivably look to the free agent market for reinforcements, although — unsurprisingly — there aren’t a ton of quality options freely available. A trade could also be possible, although Cincinnati would have to work out a deal before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Sign John Ross

The Bengals have signed first-round pick (No. 9 overall) John Ross and fourth-round pick (No. 116 overall) Carl Lawson to their rookie contracts, per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter).

Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Huskies receiver John Ross poses after being selected as the number 9 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ross, of course, had a breakout final season at Washington (81 catches for 1,150 yards and a whopping 17 receiving TDs), and he has game-breaking speed, which will be an excellent complement to A.J. Green in Cincinnati. The concern, of course, is that the diminutive wideout has major medical red flags, which caused some teams to drop him on their boards or remove him from their boards entirely. Ross tore his ACL and missed the 2015 collegiate campaign and also underwent labrum surgery after the combine, and we heard last week that some clubs only view him as a one contract player and not as a long-term investment.

If he stays healthy, his explosiveness could be a boon to the Bengals both on the offensive side of the ball and in the return game. He will be in line for a four-year deal worth roughly $17MM and a $10.5MM signing bonus.

Lawson, meanwhile, was the first of three fourth-round selections the Bengals made, and he will earn roughly $3MM over the life of his four-year pact. The Auburn product amassed 9.5 sacks in his final collegiate season, and Cincinnati plans to utilize his pass-rushing skills from the outside linebacker position even though he lined up as a defensive end in college.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Latest Declarations

A quick look at the latest college players who will head for the 2016 NFL Draft:

  • Indiana defensive tackle Darius Latham has declared, according to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman (Twitter link).
  • Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson will enter the draft, per Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link).
  • UCLA running back Paul Perkins announced his draft intentions via Twitter.
  • Fellow Baylor teammates expect defensive tackle Andrew Billings and cornerback Xavien Howard to depart school in favor of the draft, Pauline tweets.
  • Marshall defensive back Corey Tindal also tweeted that he will enter the draft.
  • San Diego State cornerback Damontae Kazee announced that he’s headed for the pros, Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes.
  • San Jose State defensive back Cleveland Wallace III joined International Sports Agency (Twitter link).