WATCH: The differences between defensive ends Trent Murphy and Shaq Lawson


Former first-round draft pick Shaq Lawson has been relegated to the bench early on in Training Camp, and it should be no surprise. The Buffalo Bills struggled to apply pressure on quarterbacks last season, ranking 31st in pressure rate, per Football Outsiders. This offseason, general manager Brandon Beane made a concerted effort to upgrade the defensive line.

Brandon Beane

Jun 12, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane watches his team play during minicamp at the ADPRO Sports Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

One such transaction was the signing of former Washington DE Trent Murphy. Murphy is coming off of an ACL tear, but Beane signed him to a lucrative deal worth $22.5 million over three years. That amount of money sent Lawson a message: his job was in jeopardy.

Murphy has all but been named the starter based on the reps at St. John Fisher, and when you compare the film of these two defenders, you can see why. Murphy, at this stage in his career, is just flat out a better player. He can stop the run just as well as Lawson, but more importantly, he has shown that he can consistently win as a pass rusher.

[visual-link-preview encoded=”eyJ0eXBlIjoiaW50ZXJuYWwiLCJwb3N0IjoxOTEyNCwicG9zdF9sYWJlbCI6IlBvc3QgMTkxMjQgLSBCdWZmYWxvIEJpbGxzIERFIFNoYXEgTGF3c29uIGhhcyBtb3N0IHRvIHByb3ZlIGFzIHRyYWluaW5nIGNhbXAgbmVhcnMiLCJ1cmwiOiIiLCJpbWFnZV9pZCI6MTkxNDEsImltYWdlX3VybCI6Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmNvdmVyMS5uZXQvd3AtY29udGVudC91cGxvYWRzLzIwMTgvMDUvc2hhcS5qcGciLCJ0aXRsZSI6IkJ1ZmZhbG8gQmlsbHMgREUgU2hhcSBMYXdzb24gaGFzIG1vc3QgdG8gcHJvdmUgIiwic3VtbWFyeSI6IiIsInRlbXBsYXRlIjoiZGVmYXVsdCJ9″]

Over the course of Murphy’s career (3 seasons), he has racked up 18 sacks, 27 QB hits and 64 QB hurries, to Lawson’s six sacks, four QB hits and 20 QB hurries over two seasons.  Lawson has not lived up to his draft spot, and you will see why as we put Lawson side by side with teammates Eddie Yarbrough and Trent Murphy.

0:10 Lawson vs. run

2:00 Lawson’s 2017 statistics

2:35 Lawson’s four QB sacks from 2017

4:37 Lawson’s inefficiencies as a pass rusher

  • Lack of explosiveness and speed
  • Lack of a plan
  • No counters, bad at transitioning
  • Inconsistent hand usage

12:43 Cut-ups of Eddie Yarbrough

  • Hustle, tenacity
  • Pass rush plan
  • Hand usage

15:19 Trent Murphy breakdown

  • Pass rush plans
  • Counters and transitions
  • Mental processing and adjusting to offensive stimuli
  • Tenacity
  • Ability to win with hand usage and technique
  • Transition from run to pass