IRVING, Texas – The wait wasn’t nearly as long or agonizing on Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Dallas Cowboys got in on the second round action early by trading their 47th overall pick and their No. 78 pick to Washington for the No. 34 overall pick. They used the selection on Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
The pick fills an obvious need for a right defensive end, vacated this spring by a sack artist of the same name – DeMarcus Ware. At 6-2, 251 pounds, Lawrence has been projected as a fit in several different schemes, but it’s evident Dallas will use him as a down defensive end.
Lawrence was a first-team All-Mountain West selection both of his seasons as a starter for the Broncos. He made a habit of getting into opponents’ backfields, as he finished the 2013 season with 10.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss.
Before landing at Boise State, Lawrence was a junior college standout at Butler Community College in 2011. He led Butler as a redshirt freshman with 27 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He had one season of eligibility remaining at Boise State when he declared for the draft.
This is the third Boise State defender the Dallas Cowboys have taken in recent seasons. Orlando Scandrick was selected in the fifth round, No. 143 overall, in 2008, and Tyrone Crawford was taken in the third round, No. 81 overall, in 2012.
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys had Lawrence ranked as third best defensive end
IRVING, Texas – Two days before the draft, Jerry Jones had no problems admitting his desire to “replace Ware” in this year’s draft.
Today, Jones and the Dallas 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 NFL 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.
Dallas 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.
“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 Dallas 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 Dallas 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.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the Dallas 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.