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Behind Clowney, Barr, Cowboys Had Lawrence As Next-Best DE
IRVING, Texas – Two days before the draft, Jerry Jones had no problems admitting his desire to “replace Ware” in this year’s draft.
On Friday, Jones and the Cowboys definitely replaced their “Demarcus.” Only time will tell if he can fill the void of DeMarcus Ware.
But Boise State pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence will certainly get the chance after the Cowboys made a bold move in the second round, moving up from 47th overall to 34th in a trade with the Redskins, who also received Dallas’ third-round pick. So on a night that was supposed to be a four-hour trek of Day 2 in the draft, it lasted about 15 minutes before Lawrence was picked, ending the Cowboys’ night rather early.
According to the Cowboys, who admit they have several needs they’d like to address, yielding a third-round pick to land Lawrence was worth it, simply because it fills a need.
Cowboys’ director of player personnel Stephen Jones even admitted they might have overpaid for the 34th pick, but did so with the fear of losing Lawrence, whom the Cowboys had rated as the third pass-rusher on their board behind Jadaveon Clowney and Anthony Barr.
“He was the last guy we really had in terms of the right-end spot,” Stephen Jones said. “We knew we might have to give up a little more than maybe the charts read out. That happens sometimes when you want a guy and we really wanted this guy. We didn’t want to lose him. We worked through the deal. We sweetened the pot a little bit and got the deal done.”
Lawrence was one of the 30 players to visit the Cowboys’ facility in Valley Ranch back in April. In fact, he met up with Tyrone Crawford, who left Boise State the year before Lawrence. They are two of three BSU players on the Cowboys along with Orlando Scandrick.
“I felt like the Cowboys liked me a lot, but in the draft you never know where they’re going to go,” Lawrence said. “I’m just thanking God for everything and thanking Jerry [Jones] and the staff for trusting me.”
The Cowboys had some interest in both Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy and Lawrence, who had the edge because of his ability to play the right side, while Ealy’s position isn’t as clear, with the potential to play left or right end, and maybe even inside at tackle.
“There are only a handful of right-end guys in this draft. We felt like we needed to get an impact player in this draft,” Jason Garrett said. “He’s got very good pass-rush ability. He can bend and get to the quarterback and make plays. We think a lot of him as a player. The skill-set he brings in. There are a lot of defensive end in the draft but only a few in this draft that can play the right end.”
Obviously, the natural comparison between Lawrence and Ware is inevitable because of the names and position. But owner/GM Jerry Jones said the two are different in how they attack offensive tackles en route to the quarterback.
“What we’re looking for is somebody that has, first and foremost, natural pass-rushing instinct,” Jones said. “Not necessarily speed – speed doesn’t get it alone. It’s got to be somebody that just has a knack, a bending, a certain way to maybe a couple techniques. Rod (Marinelli) is high on this guy, I mean real high on this guy.”
After two days of the draft, the Cowboys have added Notre Dame guard Zack Martin, who will likely step right in on the right side and now Lawrence, who has the chance to compete for a starting job as well.
“After the first two picks we wanted to end up with a starter and a player that could really impact rather than not impact on both fronts – offensive line and defensive line,” Jerry Jones said. “We had various combinations there. We obviously were probably thinking defense first and offense second. We basically have ended up with certainly one of the three options that we had, and we probably addressed a more acute position as a pass rusher then what we were going to do with ‘Willie’ (weakside) if we drafted a linebacker there. So we probably got a better fit here.”
By losing the third-round pick, the Cowboys end Day 2 with just two players instead of three, and currently drops their overall draft-pick total to 10.
On Saturday, the Cowboys have a pick in the fourth and fifth-rounds and do not have a sixth, before finishing off the seventh round with six picks. Three of those are compensatory picks and are not eligible to be traded.