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Mailbag: Realistic Expectations For Lawrence?

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ANTHONY CAMARO
FREEPORT, NY
Prior to the draft, Bryan's report on Demarcus Lawrence had him as a guy to grab in the second or maybe the third. Are we expecting too much from him year one and what is a realistic goal we should set for him?

Nick: Draft values tend to change, especially when they start pretty early these days. We're talking about a one-round difference. I know that right before the draft started Bryan liked Lawrence as a late-first or early second. The more you look at guys, the better opinion you're going to have. Aaron Donald went to the Senior Bowl as a third/fourth-round guy and was picked 8th overall. Bryan will tell you he was the third-best right-end rusher behind Clowney and Barr. Realistically, I think you want him to come in and have an impact on third downs. He might not be the starter for every snap but he needs to be a difference-maker.

Rowan: It sort of sounds like he'll start out more as a second and third down pass-rusher, but the expectations are already set high on a player when Cowboys management said he was the last among a group that included Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr that the Cowboys felt could step in immediately at the right defensive end spot. The expectations are high off the bat, and I think at least five sacks in his rookie year is a realistic benchmark for a player the Cowboys surrendered their third-round pick to grab.

KYLE FORCHETTI
AUSTIN, TX
Due to the Cowboys drafting Anthony Hitchens to be Sean Lee's primary backup, which was a position once thought to be won by DeVonte Holloman, does this make Holloman the front runner for starting strong side LB job?

Nick:I don't think Holloman is the front-runner for a starting job right now. Doesn't mean he won't win [embedded_ad] one. But with guys like Lee, Carter, Durant and now Hitchens in the mix, Holloman probably starts in the pack a little bit. Personally, I like this guy a lot. I think I'd start him somewhere and let him develop. It's a crowded spot but that's not a bad thing, especially if you remember the Packers game when injuries decimated the position.

Rowan: I think he is. We look at the safety spot as one of the biggest competitions in camp, and I think it will be, but the actual greatest competition might be for the two outside linebacker spots – primarily the one on the strong side. I think another strong camp from Holloman will win him the starting strong side linebacker job. I'm interested to see if the Cowboys keep Justin Durant on the strong side or have him compete with Bruce Carter on the weak side, while Kyle Wilber battles it out with Holloman on the strong side.

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