Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have Willie Anderson, at least in part, to thank for the selection of Carl Lawson in the 2017 draft. The best right tackle in franchise history took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to share his influence over the decision to pick up the dynamic edge rusher in the fourth round.
Anderson revealed he texted then head coach Marvin Lewis to encourage him to draft Lawson, which makes sense considering both played their collegiate ball with the Auburn Tigers. Lawson responded shortly after, confirming the story.
As WhoDey Nation is well aware, the decision has worked out beyond well. Lawson bucked the injury concerns that originally caused him to slide down draft boards and has lived up to his first-round talent level. He’s developed into arguably Cincinnati’s top defender and is the only defensive lineman currently rostered that has proven capable of consistently generating pressure.
The Bengals have no choice but to re-sign Carl Lawson this offseason
As Cincinnati enters the offseason, the future of their defense hangs in the balance. Not only is William Jackson III set to become a free agent and Jessie Bates enters a period where he can receive an early contract extension, but Lawson is slated to hit the open market as well.
To put it simply, the Bengals have no other choice but to bring back the outstanding defensive end. In an expanded role this season, Lawson proved he is fully capable of maintaining his feverish pressure rate, as well as holding his own in the run game.
Despite Lawson’s heroics, the defensive line finished dead last in the league in terms of sacks. If the front office wants to give Zac Taylor and co. a legitimate chance of competing within the AFC North, they’ll need to open their wallets to give Lawson a big payday, as well as bring him in some suitable running mates.
If history is any indication, Willie Anderson could be hitting the lines of Bengals decision-makers to influence the contract talks.