Sakamoto: 49ers GM Trent Baalke Attends Shaq Lawson Private Workout


San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke and Director of College Scouting Matt Malaspina were both on hand for Clemson’s Pro Day last week and for good reason. Last Thursday, the team worked out DE/OLB Kevin Dodd and as it turns out they also held a two-hour private workout with both DE Shaq Lawson and OLB B.J. Goodson.

The 49ers who are in the market for a pass-rusher opposite of OLB Aaron Lynch will continue to look at ‘tweeners’ who played in a even man front (4-3) but project as 3-4 outside linebackers at the NFL level. Lawson, who also held a private workout with the Carolina Panthers seemed to be more comfortable with that workout as it tailors to his natural position as a 4-3 defensive end in a three-point stance.

“They pretty much run the defense we ran at Clemson,” Lawson said. “I was pretty familiar with all of it.” As for the 49ers workout it was a little more difficult from what I’m hearing, as he didn’t look fluid in space while having difficulty sinking his hips in coverage.

However, Lawson was very happy to hear that Baalke attended the private workout.  “When I found out the GM was coming, that told me something about how serious they are about me. He makes the decisions on the team, he’s going to draft guys, so with him there, it was more pressure, but I liked that,” Lawson said. “He’s the main guy, he picks the players.”

At 6-3, 269, Lawson has the skill set to succeed as a 3-4 outside linebacker while being a reliable edge-setter in the run game. The Panthers are the only other team who held a private workout with Lawson thus far and seem to be very interested in the Clemson product, as both QB Cam Newton and last year’s first-round pick (No. 25) LB Shaq Thompson have held private workouts with the team before they were drafted in the first-round.

Lawson has pre-draft visits scheduled with the 49ers, Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints.


30 Pre-Draft Visits

WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)

WR Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)

DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)

DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson)

DE/OLB Kevin Dodd (Clemson)

CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)

CB Eli Apple (Ohio St.)


Private Workout

WR Leonte Carroo (Rutgers)

DE/OLB Shaq Lawson (Clemson)

DE/OLB Kevin Dodd (Clemson)

LB B.J. Goodson (Clemson)


Senior Bowl Meeting

NT Austin Johnson (Penn St.)

ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)


East/West Shrine Bowl Meeting

QB Vernon Adams (Eastern Washington)

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.