Carl Lawson confident he can turn pressures into more sacks

The Jets made edge rusher Carl Lawson one of their biggest offseason acquisitions when they signed him to a three-year, $45 million contract as a free agent.

Detractors of that move will point to Lawson’s 20 sacks over four seasons with the Bengals as a sign that he doesn’t make enough plays. Supporters will note his 54 quarterback hits over the last two seasons and 64 pressures last season as evidence that Lawson is a disruptive player even if he isn’t piling up huge sack totals.

During an appearance on the Jim Rome Show, Lawson argued the latter point while also acknowledging that the sacks are necessary for him to get to the highest levels of recognition in the football world.

“You can’t judge somebody based off of sacks as far as how productive they are, but if you want to get to that elite status, where you’re considered an elite defender, then you need to convert those pressures into sacks, if you get what I’m saying,” Lawson said, via Kevin Patra of “And I’m confident that I’ll be able to do that, because I feel like I’ve been very … I’ve had tons of limiting factors to just go against me and still be highly productive. So I’m excited, and I’m still improving, so I’m extremely optimistic.”

Lawson’s bid for more sacks could be helped by having Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins collapsing the pocket inside of him on the defensive line, but a young cornerback group will have to outperform expectations to keep opposing quarterbacks from finding a way to escape the pass rush.