Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence Becoming a Star


For the Dallas Cowboys, it’s hard to see positives in this disastrous 2015 season, but it’s easy to see second year defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence, is becoming a star.

Demarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys second year defensive end out of Boise State, is fast becoming a force on the Cowboys’ defensive line. The season started slowly for Lawrence, only collecting one sack in his first eight games of the season. But now Lawrence has turned it on, adding six more sacks in the last six games, and leads the Dallas Cowboys in pass-pressure.

"“[DeMarcus] was blessed at birth with God-given physical capabilities to play this game but he’s grown immensely with his maturity as a man,” teammate Jeremy Mincey said, per DMN. “I think maturity plays the largest role in this game because when you know what’s at stake, you definitely won’t take it for granted.”"

DeMarcus Lawrence came to the Dallas Cowboys with high expectations. After trading up to the top of the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected Lawrence #34 overall, forfeiting their 2nd and 3rd picks in the process.

DeMarcus Lawrence was seen by the Dallas Cowboys as one of three dynamic edge rushers in that draft. After seeing the top two vacate the board in round one, the Cowboys made their high-cost move and drafted the 6’3” 265 lb project player.

And that move is starting to pay off…

At a time in the year when many pass-rushers slow down, Lawrence is heating up. His six sacks in the last six weeks make him one of the most dominant pass-rushers in the season’s second half. His season total, seven sacks, may not sound like much but it currently ranks 22nd in the league (and ½ more than former Cowboy, DeMarcus Ware).

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"“He’s a gifted athlete, yes, but he also works on it each day,” nose tackle Nick Hayden said of his linemate. “He practices hard, he works on the little details of the game, and you see it showing up on game day. I’m proud of him. He’s come a long way from last year to this year. He’s going to be a heck of a player for us in the future.”"

The thing to keep in mind is DeMarcus Lawrence isn’t just a one-dimensional pass-rusher like so many in this league are. It was apparent from his injury-shortened rookie season, Lawrence was interested in learning the game and developing into a complete defensive end.

In my 2014 scouting and film reviews, I noted repeatedly that Lawrence was purposely slowing himself down as he focused on the diagnostics of the position. Instead of pinning his ears back and rushing the passer on every down (like most young players do), he was taking the time to execute ALL assignments.

Lawrence took his run-gap responsibilities seriously. He understood the responsibilities of the edge and took the time to understand his role in the running game and screen game. He added to his pass-rush arsenal because he knew, man cannot live on speed-rush alone.

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Taking the time to learn the game the right way may have delayed his impact but if he can continue, it was an impact well worth waiting for.

"“I think he’s better against the run,” Jason Garret said. “He’s making more impact plays, tackles for loss, I think he’s getting after the quarterback better. I think it has everything to do with the kind of guy he is. He works hard at it. He plays hard. I think just over the time, the commitment he’s made to refining his techniques and learning from experience, I think it’s showing up on game day.”"

On Saturday against the New York Jets, Lawrence posted his best game as a pro. He collected a sack, at least two hurries, six solo tackles, and four stuffs behind the line of scrimmage – including one monumental stop on fourth and goal.

This season hasn’t brought many positives but the development of DeMarcus Lawrence cannot be understated. He’s complete player capable of playing both right and left defensive end (LDE carries more run and screen responsibilities).

Best of all, he plays better towards the end of the season when games seem to matter the most, which is the polar opposite of his predecessor, DeMarcus Ware who usually disappeared over the holidays (more on this later…).

Next: Cowboys vs Jets Film Review

At only 23, Lawrence is a player the Cowboys can build around, and based on his physical skills and work ethic, there’s no reason to think his recent performance won’t continue.