Halfway through this 2020 season the Dallas Cowboys have one of the worst defenses in football. But while the team is struggling to stop anything on the field, DeMarcus Lawrence isn’t one of the reasons why. The Cowboys’ top-paid defender is still grading out as one of the NFL’s top players despite the issues around him.
According to the metrics-driven analysis of Pro Football Focus, Lawrence is currently the 3rd-best “EDGE” player in the NFL. That includes all 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers.
Demarcus Lawrence’s grades and rank among EDGE defenders this season:-Overall: 89.9 (3rd)-Pass Rush: 87.8 (5th)-Run Defense: 84.6 (4th)#Cowboys pic.twitter.com/fX9TC2PZ29
Balance is what makes DeMarcus such a great player. Some defenders are exceptional in run support or rushing the passer, but Tank has been one of the league’s best in both areas for the last few years.
True, Lawrence only has three sacks so far this season. But pass rushing also involves pressuring the quarterback into bad throws, throwaways, and scrambles or perhaps chasing him into the arms of one of your teammates.
Disrupting plays by consistently pressuring the pocket is where DeMarcus has shined thus far. And with all three of his sacks coming in his last four games, the number could also be looking much better by the end of the year.
Remember, Lawrence played through a knee injury during the first quarter of 2020. It’s no surprise that his visibility on the field, especially with the sacks, has picked up in October.
It’s also noteworthy and inspiring to see one of our veteran defenders, already secure with his big contract, continuing to give max effort despite the Cowboys’ overall failure in 2020. Tank is leading by example and stepping up in the wake of Dak Prescott’s injury and the likely end to Dallas’ hopes for the season.
So while there are many reasons for frustration right now, don’t point any fingers at DeMarcus Lawrence. He’s doing his job and remains one of the NFL’s best players at his position.