Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2014 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features linebacker
Name: Cameron Lawrence
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 234
Experience: 1 season
College: Mississippi State
Key stat: Lawrence tied for second on the team with 12 special teams tackles in 2013, despite only playing in 11 games after a call-up from the practice squad.
Contract Status: Signed through 2014
2013 Impact: Was one of those players that I never really noticed initially during our time while in Oxnard for training camp, then two to three weeks in, he was getting more of an opportunity to get snaps with the defense and showing up more as a backup in special teams drills. By the final game against the Eagles, he was playing as a core guy on the special teams. He was lining up as the left guard on the kickoff return, blocker on the punt return, left tackle on the punt team and at various spots on the kickoff team, R2, R3 and L5. As a blocker, worked to put himself in position to try and secure the block. Had a couple of reps where he was a little late getting over and adjusting to his man. Catch and grab type of blocker more than a guy that was going to explode on you. Would not call him the most smoothest of athletes, matter fact there is some stiffness in his play. Gave outstanding effort in regards to running and covering the kick. Did play with the awareness to avoid blocks and not put himself at risk of being out of position. When he was in position to bring the ball carrier down, he was solid in getting his man down. Can be a physical player when he needed to be. Will use his hands to get rid of the blocker. Stays after the play.
Where He Fits:I didn’t give him much of a chance when he walked through the door of Valley Ranch this time last season but proved a lot of us wrong. Still see Lawrence as that core special teamer that will once again have to find ways to battle his way on the roster. Depending on how things shake out during the draft, could be on the outside looking in for a replacement that might be a little more athletic and plays a bigger role on the defense. Rosters in this league are full of guys that are solid and dependable but if you can upgrade the core, you will always take the opportunity to do it.
Rowan Kavner: Lawrence joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent and after final cuts entering the season he joined the team on the practice squad. He earned a spot on the active roster in October primarily for his ability on special teams after Will Allen was released prior to Game 6, and he immediately helped out on the coverage units, finishing with eight solo tackles and four assisted tackles on the year. He was also called into duty at linebacker after a rash of injuries, totaling five defensive tackles on the season. It’s unlikely, barring further injuries, he’ll be called in to play or start defensively this year. His future in Dallas resides as a special teams force, and he can earn a spot on the active roster once again if he proves himself in that area.