The Bills’ 2016 draft pick class had a slow start. Reggie Ragland needed knee surgery, while Shaq Lawson underwent shoulder surgery that made him miss 6 games. During the first week of Buffalo Bills’ Training Camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Lawson looks like the athlete that Buffalo wanted when they selected him for their first- round pick last year. Fast and aggressive, the defensive end is showing consistent flashes of brilliance on the field.

Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense

When former Bills’ coach Rex Ryan took over for the team in 2015, the switch from the powerhouse 4-3 scheme under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was dumped.

The 3-4 scheme saw Buffalo’s defensive numbers plunge from a top 5 to a top 20 defense. Players such as Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus complained about having to drop back into coverage. The defense often looked confused and got beat on many big plays. The sack rate for the team also dipped.

Unaccustomed to playing in a 3-4 defense, Lawson told the Buffalo News this past week that he was baffled as to why Ryan and former manager Doug Whaley selected him in the draft. Said Lawson, “Yeah, that was kind of odd.

It really was. I knew I wasn’t a fit for that defense. They thought I was. I just tried it out. I wasn’t very comfortable.”

Last year, the discomfort showed. In 10 games, Lawson only had 13 tackles and a pair of sacks. While he was still a rookie that missed the 2016 training camp, Lawson was already starting behind the 8 ball in a defensive scheme that did not bring out his best. However, the past is the past.

The switch has flipped in a 4-3 fit

This year, Lawson is making his name known in training camp.

About 10 to 20 pounds less this offseason, Lawson showed off a spin maneuver this past week and is playing with passion. According to Sean McDermott, who talked to The Buffalo News, Lawson is aggressive and coming off the ball fast. He is working in tandem well with Jerry Hughes on the outside edges of the defensive line. The front four of Lawson, Hughes, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus has the potential to be the best front four in the NFL.

Lawson is hoping to repeat his college performance. The former Clemson Tiger was a force to be reckoned with during his 2015 season.

He made 59 total tackles and knocked the quarterback to the ground for 12.5 sacks. If the defensive end can bring his same game to the field this season, opposing quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Matt Ryan may be seeing some stars and forced fumbles.

Shaq Lawson gets to showcase his talent the Buffalo Bills face the New York Jets on Sept. 10.

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