Kenny Lawler – WR – Cal
Rnd 7 Pick 243
33 3/8″ Arm Length
10 1/2″ Hand Size
I was pretty happy to see the Seahawks invest the bulk of their draft capital into positions of greater need than Wide Receiver. I was even more happy to see that when they did throw a lotto ticket 7th Round pick at the position it was for a potentially high upside and very interesting player who fits a role on the team. They used to say that all Chris Carter did was catch Touchdowns, so I give to you in the form of Kenny Lawler our very own Chris Carter 2.0.
Lawler is a bit of a contradiction in body type. He reminds me of former NFL WR Ashley Lelie with a very narrow body type while still being very long and tall. Much like Lelie, this could create some trouble with him getting off of press coverage and handling some of the more physical Defensive Backs in the NFL. What he does have to go along with a 6’2″ and change body are the long arms and big hands that teams look for in a Left Tackle. Seriously, from the top of his shoulder to the tip of his fingers he is the player that every Receivers Coach wants. He also has elite body control, balance, coordination, and the ball skills to go up and get it. Check this catch against Texas (3:42 mark) to see him play the ball, adjust in the air, show his ability to high point it, and flash great hands all in one play. And there are tons of these types of catches on his tape. He has good acceleration and initial quickness, with the footwork to get off the line clean and also to make some players miss in space. He doesn’t have the best top end gear, but as shown here against Air Force (3:49) he can out run some guys and make some moves for some very nice YAC. At times he has lapses in his route running, and on occasion he is looking too much to make the first guy miss and doesn’t end up making the catch. He has an ugly drop or two on the tape. However, he’s a tough minded player who is a very willing and physical blocker as well as a player not afraid to put his body out there and make a grab over the middle. He plays like a big receiver, getting tough yards like in this play against USC for the 1st Down (1:15). For the concerns that exist for him, there is obviously a ton of physical upside that made him well worth a 7th Round pick.
As part of the Bear Raid Offense at Cal under Sonny Dykes and with Jared Goff throwing to him, Lawler was a very productive college player becoming Mr. Touchdown in the passing game. In 2013 as a Freshman he caught 37 passes for 347 yards and 5 touchdowns. He followed that up with a Sophomore season that totaled 54 catches for 701 yards and 9 touchdowns before earning 1st Team All-PAC in 2015 as Junior with 52 receptions for 658 yards and 13 touchdowns. All told he averaged one TD every 5.3 catches and had 4 career 3 TD games. He was a key cog in a prolific offense and played a role that translates well to the NFL as a move the sticks and Red Zone guy.
Kenny Lawler is almost a direct comparison to Jermaine Kearse as far as his role on the team. He is a somewhat big pass catcher who plays bigger than his actual size. He specializes in using his long arms and big hands to win the 50/50 ball and despite not having a ton of upside after the catch he can still make plays. He actually has a higher upside than Kearse, so seeing as we don’t really have a comparable player to back him up and we just signed him to a bigger contract, it makes sense to be drafting his backup and potential replacement right about now. I think there is a great chance he will make the team, and if he does he won’t play a ton this year but could have a couple very exciting catches.