How Demarcus Lawrence Fits with the Dallas Cowboys

Alex HallCorrespondent IIIMay 9, 2014

Boise State defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys made their first step towards fixing their defense in the 2014 NFL draft, moving up in the second round to take Demarcus Lawrence.

It cost the 'Boys their third-round pick to trade up to Washington's No. 34 overall spot but the price is well worth it. The second round was where this team had to address defensive end and Lawrence is a great way to do so.

George Selvie came out of nowhere to bring in seven sacks for the league's worst defense in 2013. While that was a great performance, there's no guarantee he'll continue to be a solid starter for years and years. The jury is still out on the South Florida product.

Selvie filled in for Anthony Spencer last season who went down with an injury in Week 1. Spencer did re-sign with Dallas this past free agency. He'll be with the team this season but could easily leave for more money next offseason if he returns to Pro Bowl form.

Bringing in Demarcus Lawrence at the very least is insurance if Spencer leaves or Selvie regresses. He's also a guy that coordinator Rod Marinelli can build into an impressive NFL player.

While at Boise State, Lawrence showed off some great footwork and easily changed directions when he needed to. He used his impressive strength to work through and around blockers to get to the quarterback.

Lawrence tallied 20.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks last season, the most in the Mountain West Conference in both categories. He is a headache for offensive coordinators from the moment the ball is snapped to the end of every play.

As writer Rob Rang noted in his write-up on Dallas' second-round pick, Lawrence's body of work in college may only be the surface of what he can become. Marinelli has helped better guys like Henry Melton and Julius Peppers in the past. It will be interesting to see what the coach and player can do together.

There are questions about Lawrence's character though, considering his three suspensions in college. While that's certainly a red flag of sorts, Dallas had a mid first-round grade on him, according to writer Jeff Sullivan.

If that's how highly Dallas thought of Lawrence, it's clear the team trusts that those character issues are behind him and believe in his potential.

Defensive end was arguably the Cowboys' biggest need heading into this year's draft. Some fans might have been scratching their head after their team took offensive tackle Zack Martin in the first round.

After making the move to grab Lawrence, though, it's clear the Dallas war room had a solid strategy for the first two rounds.

Lawrence gives the Cowboys another young and promising building block on the defensive line after signing Melton. With Selvie, Spencer, Melton and Lawrence in the fold, Dallas' front four is one defensive tackle short of being rebuilt.