Unpeeling the layers of the (potentially elite) Dallas Cowboys pass rush

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: DeMarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys . (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: DeMarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys . (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 30: Tyrone Crawford #98 of the Dallas Cowboys sacks Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

When you assess the Dallas Cowboys pass-rush in 2019, you’ll quickly discover it has the potential to be downright potent, and that is our focus today…

The Dallas Cowboys defense took a massive step forward last season. Organic improvement from young players, coupled with responsible investments in free agency pushed the Dallas D to the top of the league in most major categories.

This season they look to improve on that progress and the best way to do that is by achieving better results from the pass- rush. In 2018 the Dallas Cowboys pass-rush only ranked 26th in sacks (2.2 per game according to teamrankings.com) But led by their pass-rushing war daddy, DeMarcus Lawrence, they appear to be a pass-rushing unit on the cusp of breaking out. Enough progress has been made, and enough pieces put in place, the pass rush has the potential to be nothing short of dominant in 2019.

The Elite

DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys pass rush lives and dies on the back of DeMarcus Lawrence. Arguably the most productive pass-rusher in the NFL over the past two seasons, Lawrence has become the cornerstone of the defensive line.

The master of sacks, hurries, and tackles for loss, “Tank” is a force in both the passing game as well as the running game, making it nearly impossible for opponents to scheme against him.

Unlike most traditional elite pass-rushers, Lawrence plays the left side of the line. His technique, length, and strength allow him to hold up to the physical punishment associated with the left side, and his presence there opens opportunities on the right for more singularly focused players to make an impact opposite him.

At age 27 and coming off back-to-back double-digit sack seasons, Lawrence is in his physical prime as an edge lineman. And the depth behind him promises to keep him fresh for the most critical pass-rushing situations this season.

But it’s not just DeMarcus Lawrence’s pure ability that makes him a valuable weapon, but the trickle-down effect he provides the rest of the line.