In an otherwise disappointing 2017 season, one star shined through consistently for the Dallas Cowboys. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence finally reached the potential many people believed he could, racking up 14.5 sacks and dictating protection schemes week in and week out.
Lawrence was so good in 2017 that Pro Football Focus named him their “Breakout Player of the Year,” as can be seen in the tweet below.
Cowboys edge defender DeMarcus Lawrence won PFF's breakout player of the year in 2017!https://t.co/avoQKmukHY pic.twitter.com/yDTElaadbN
According to PFF, Lawrence finished the season with 79 total pressures and the highest pass rushing productivity rate in the NFL. Prior to his breakout year in 2017, Lawrence's best season came during his sophomore campaign in 2015. Many analysts attributed his 8 sacks that year to playing alongside Greg Hardy on the defensive line, but there was no doubt who the alpha rusher was for the Cowboys this season.
DeMarcus Lawrence had struggled with back injuries for much of the early part of his career, but by remaining relatively healthy and available for the entire season Lawrence was able to have his breakout year.
Lawrence enters 2018 as an unrestricted free agent, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys front office. Dallas has spent years looking for their “war daddy” pass rusher off the edge. They seem to have finally found that player in Lawrence, and allowing him to leave the building would be downright idiotic.
Despite DeMarcus Lawrence's dominance last season, adding another speed rusher on the weakside should not be out of the question for Dallas. Of course they did spend a first round pick on defensive end Taco Charlton a year ago, but that shouldn't handcuff them heading into the 2018 NFL Draft. Using a day two pick on a rusher like Rutgers EDGE Kemoko Turay could create quite the pass rushing pair for opposing offenses to deal with.
After all, you can never have too many pass rushers on your roster.