I would much rather take Lawson and wait a couple years for him to blow up to Peppers' size and become a monster.
It could happen. Reggie Hayward and Bert Berry are two good examples of undersized players a few years ago that now have pretty good size. Hayward measures about 6-5/270 now, and Berry 6-3/275. Just 3 or 4 years ago, they were 6-5/255 and 6-3/250. Lawson is currently listed at 6-5/240, so probably the most we can really expect him to bulk up to is about 265. No way he ever gets up to the 280-285 range that Peppers is in and still retains that sort of athleticism.
But what do we do about the starting position until Lawson is ready? Because at his current size, is he a full-time player? Definitely not. A 240-pound guy no matter how quick he is can't handle what NFL OTs throw at him, especially guys like Tra Thomas who are going to have 100 pounds on him.
I like Lawson, but all roads seem to point to him moving to OLB. And even though he's probably the best guy as you said, we'd still have a hole at the starting RDE spot until he's ready (if ever) to be more than a 3rd down guy (like Robert Mathis).
The best I saw was 4.7. Thats also another knock on him......he is awful slow for a speed rusher.
Actually, that's not slow at all. It's just people have gotten so used to seeing the guys that run the 4.5 in recent drafts that they've become a bit spoiled. Frankly, 4.5 is cornerback speed. 4.6 is safety speed, and 4.7-4.9 is TE/DE speed. A DE that runs a 4.85 or higher is right in that he is not a speed rusher. But basically a 4.8 or lower shows he has good speed. Also remember that the 40 only measures running speed. If you want to get a more accurate telling of someone's upfield explosion or edge speed, the 10-yard dash or shuttle run are better indicators. A DE that runs 4.65 or under basically means he has the speed to play LB in the NFL. Just to give you some reference on some 40 times (all from CNN/SI.com):
Keith Brooking - 4.65
Patrick Kerney - 4.68
Julius Peppers - 4.68
Grant Wistrom - 4.7
Alex Brown - 4.73
Aaron Schobel - 4.78
Osi Umenyiora - 4.82
Shaun Ellis - 4.85
Greg Ellis - 4.88
Aaron Kampman - 4.92
Adewale Ogunleye - 5.01
Obviously, a lot of those players are much faster than what they were timed at (Peppers is a 4.4 on the field), so take it with a grain of salt, or take it that a 40 between 4.7-4.9 is about average for your typical NFL DE.
Lendale White isn't as good as Duckett was coming out of college. Running behind that line and having 2 Heisman players around him makes him look like a great player. He could be a very good RB, but not in a system like ours.
I agree that White may not be the perfect fit for our system, but he is heads and heels a better player than Duckett. The only thing Duckett had coming out of school was amazing size and athleticism. He had little acceleration and didn't have outstanding vision. Granted, much of this was because he was still learning the RB position as he never played it prior to going to Michigan State. But White is just as good if not better than Ronnie Brown. I firmly believe that the Top 5 players in this draft:
Leinart, Young, White, Bush, and Ferguson
Make it as good as any other draft in NFL history. Perhaps a bit premature, but I have the feeling about those 5 players will make an NFL team pretty happy (I wasn't completely sold on Ferguson until he dominated at the Senior Bowl). This doesn't include guys like Hawk, Mario Williams, and DeAngelo Williams, who in a "normal" year would probably all be Top 5 picks.
As for Jimmy Williams, he's falling fast on my board. The bowl game ejection, skipping the senior bowl, and his lack of experience, are no longer being ignored. Before I was willing to ignore the negatives when it didn't look like we had another option at CB besides Huff. Now that Tye Hill has emerged, I'd pass on Williams. If Williams doesn't work out at the Combines, he'll be off my board. Not working out at the Combines means that the entire months of January and February, he would have done absolutely nothing to prove he's worthy of a Top 15 pick. We'll have to wait until VT's pro day sometime in March or April before we saw anything from Williams. IMO, Hill has shown with his workout at the Senior Bowl that if he was 2 or 3 inches taller, he would probably be the highest rated CB in this draft. At this point, the only thing exciting about Williams is his size and the fact that he went to VT (which should now stand for Virginia's Thugs). Woop-de-fricking-doo. Seems more and more like a taller version of Ronyell Whitaker.