Oct 19, 2013; Boise, ID, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (8) during the game against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Bronco Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Martin and Demarcus Lawrence: Excellent Players, Questionable Picks


Jan 5, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive tackle Zach Martin (72) speaks to the media on media day for the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Allow me to start off by establishing that Zach Martin and Demarcus Lawrence are both fantastic talents and should contribute to upgrading both sides of the ball for the Cowboys.  With that said, their selections were a bit puzzling and are worth some discussion.

Zach Martin is supremely talented.  He will be a great addition to the Dallas Cowboys offensive line as it makes its case for the most talented group in the league.  However, the positional versatility for which he is lauded may not truly mean very much.

Given his relatively short height and arm length, Martin is projected to move inside and play the Guard position.  If the Cowboys were after a Guard, though, were there not other, more proven options available much later?  Gabe Jackson went in the 3rd round, David Yankey at the end of the fourth, and Cyril Richardson in the 5th.

If Martin is to be a Tackle, will he truly be an upgrade over Doug Free?  While Free has frustrated many fans in the past, his 2013 season was actually solid, earning him one of the highest rankings of RTs at ProFootballFocus.com.  Plus, Martin’s being shorter could present a significant disadvantage on the edge.

Similar questions could be raised about Demarcus Lawrence.  Anybody who watches his film could immediately see his knack for getting to the Quarterback.  However, Lawrence played as an Outside Linebacker at Boise State and often rushed from an upright position, behind linemen.

It is almost a certainty that Dallas will look to convert him to Defensive End, but unlike target Anthony Barr, Lawrence does not have a typical build for the position.  Just under 6’3 and weighing in the mid 200s (though it has been reported he has already begun to bulk up), Lawrence possesses  a relatively thin frame.

It is quite possible that Demarcus Lawrence will conquer the physical requirements for the Defensive End position; plus, good instinct and aggressiveness are the most important traits in a pass rusher and he’s got both.  Still, it’s curious that Dallas would move up 16 spots (in turn surrendering a third-round pick) to take him while several more proven Defensive Ends were available.  Furthermore, if they did not mind somewhat of a project player, why not stay put and take somebody like Kony Ealy who arguably has a better build for the position?

Once again, Zach Martin and Damascus Lawrence are excellent additions to the Dallas Cowboys team.  Fans should not hesitate to be welcoming and expect solid production out of them.  Still, an objective look at their selection raises some worthwhile questions.  It is quite possible that each one simply represented the best player available.  If that’s the case – great; but now the challenge is figuring out how to utilize their talents most effectively.

Tags: Anthony Barr Dallas Cowboys Demarcus Lawrence Draft Zach Martin

  • Scott.

    I’m not a Jerry jones follower and have bashed him many times. Any pick can be questioned, like Frederick last year. The media always bashes him because that’s the bed he made. If you give him a b, he really got an A. If you’ll give him a c, he really got a b. just the nature of the beast.

    • SK_Jersey13

      Most definitely; but even from an objective standpoint, these picks are a bit confusing. They are not necessarily bad, just slightly surprising giving the other talent that was on the board and the team needs. Also, most analysts seem to like these picks, calling them “safe” – not sure if that’s a good or bad thing

      • Scott.

        Solidifying the oline for the next 7-10 years is not a questionable pick. Regardless of who was on the board the philosophy of having a dominant offensive line is a pleasant direction this team has not see in a long time. Also saying they are safe picks is the experts way of dogging Jerry. Once again not a big fan of his but that’s two drafts in a row that I like.

        • SK_Jersey13

          Totally agree about the “safe” criticism just being a way to nag Jerry. I’m all for bolstering the o-line, I just don’t know that a first rounder with an unclear position, especially in a deep draft, was the way to do it. With that said, I think Martin is a tremendous prospect and I look forward to seeing him play

        • Russ

          Could have stayed put and gotten Kony Ealy and Trai Turner in the 3rd. More bumbling by our historically incompetent ownership.

          • Scott.

            Russ, let’s see how it plays out. Lady year I heard the same thing about trading back and picking up a 3rd. After the nearly pro bowl year Frederick had and the year Williams had the nay Sayers criticized the move by saying well they could have gotten a 2nd instead of a 3rd. All I’m saying is it’s hard to trust Jerry and company because of his past ineptness, I get that but I think this draft was good.

          • Russ

            Also could have gotten Frederick in the 2nd by all other teams’ ratings. It’s just simply hard to keep trying to cover the Jones’ ineptness.

  • Tim

    Demarcus Ware is 6’4 and in the mid 200′s.

    • SK_Jersey13

      As is Ealy, Lawrence is shy of 6’3 and has an all around slim frame. It’s a hard thing to articulate, but if you compared him physically to most defensive ends, he is much more slim. It’s really less about his weight than it is his build.

  • Keith Ranson

    Questionable Picks? Time To Put Down The Crack Pipe,Hater.

    • Russ

      Truth=questionable picks. Deal with it.

      • Keith Ranson

        Sounds To Me You Wouldn’t Know Questionable from logical; Deal With that.

  • Old Frog

    They wanted another rushman for Marinelli and more beef for the O line. I think the plan was probably Shazier in the first and Jackson or Su’a-Filo in the second, but it didn’t work out that way so they grabbed Martin and Lawrence. You can say O line wasn’t a need but if Martin helps keep Romo upright, opens running lanes (particularly on third down), and gives the receivers more time to get open plus Lawrence gets at least 6 sacks, then the first 2 picks will ultimately be perceived as more than just “safe”.

    • SK_Jersey13

      I’m with you, or even that the plan was to trade ouot but a buyer couldn’t be found. I think O-Line was definitely a need it just makes me uncomfortable to take someone without a defined position in the first round when there was proven talent later. With that said, Martin has all the tools in the world and he’ll probably be great, it was just still unsettling. Same goes for Lawrence; I felt like if we were going to convert a LB to DE, why not just take a DE with better physical tools like Ealy. Still, Lawrence is scary on tape; I hope he could retain that ferocity when switching positions

    • SK_Jersey13

      Btw, looks like nobody has picked up Pachall yet? I haven’t heard anything on UFA wire. Was really hoping we’d give him a shot, but I’m more than happy with Dustin Vaughan

      • Old Frog

        I think someone will give Pachall a chance. Vaughn has very small hands so long term I wouldn’t expect much from him. I think Pachall has more potential.