#90 DeMarcus Lawrence
DeMarcus Lawrence a.k.a. “Tank” was born in Aiken, South Carolina on April 28, 1992. Lawrence is a defensive end in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at Butler Community College before transferring to Boise State.
DeMarcus Lawrence attended Silver Bluff High School in South Carolina, a perennial small school powerhouse. Under head coach Al Lown, the Silver Bluff Bulldogs have won more than 200 games and five state titles.
Coach Lown played the relatively small DeMarcus Lawrence at tight end his first few seasons in high school. Thanks to a growth spurt in 10th grade, the 6’2” 210 pound Lawrence finally found his calling on the defensive side of the ball at defensive end and defensive tackle. Lawrence recorded 97 tackles and three sacks as a defensive tackle his senior year.
Lawrence wasn’t considered a top level recruit during his time at Silver Bluff. He did however help lead his team to a 9-3 record his senior season and was the Class AA All-Region choice.
Unfortunately, he didn’t receive a whole lot of interest from major colleges and it wasn’t just because of his size either. DeMarcus Lawrence struggled in the classroom because he didn’t take his schooling seriously. It ended up affecting the interest he received from collegiate programs.
DeMarcus Lawrence also excelled in baseball and basketball. During his final campaign of his high school career he helped to lead the Bulldogs basketball team to a 17-5 record.
DeMarcus Lawrence didn’t receive any scholarship offers to play football collegiately, but he continued his gridiron career at Butler Community College in Kansas.
DeMarcus Lawrence started off his collegiate career at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. Lawrence played two years at Butler before ultimately deciding to transfer to Boise State.
In 2010, he enjoyed a red-shirt season. The following season in 2011, he earned the first team J.C. Gridwire and second-team NJCAA All-American honors. The team won the Jayhawk Conference and Region IV Championships, finishing the year ranked second in the national poll. DeMarcus Lawrence was also named to the first-team All-Jayhawk Conference with 72 tackles (50 solos), the second most on the team. He also registered 12 sacks and recovered four fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Lawrence was ranked 38th on the Rivals.com JUCO Top 50 list and after his 2011 season, he signed with Boise State in December.
Lawrence started 11 games at weak-side defensive end during his first year at Boise State in 2012. He recorded 48 tackles (24 solos), led the team and league with 9 ½ quarterback sacks, forced four fumbles that tied for eighth nationally, recovered two fumbles, and had one interception. DeMarcus Lawrence also recorded the only blocked kick for Boise State. His first year performance for the Broncos earned him All-Mountain West Conference first-team honors.
DeMarcus Lawrence started 12 games at weak-side defensive end in 2013 and finished third on the team with 72 tackles (39 solos). Lawrence ranked 10th in the nation with 10 ½ quarterback sacks and ranked third in the nation with 20 ½ stops or losses, leading the MWC. After blocking one kick the previous season in 2012, Lawrence followed that up with two blocked field goals in one game against Southern Mississippi. Based on his 2013 performance, he earned All-American second-team honors from Walter Camp and for the second consecutive season, he garnered the All-Mountain West Conference first-team accolades.
For his entire collegiate career, DeMarcus Lawrence started all 34 games he appeared in, recorded 192 tackles (113 solos), 32 quarterback sacks, 53 stops for losses, six fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles, four pass deflections, and one interception.
Lawrence decided to skip his final year of eligibility and entered the 2014 NFL Draft, and was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round.
2014 NFL Draft
The Dallas Cowboys absolutely had to address the defensive line in the 2014 NFL Draft after waving franchise sack leader, DeMarcus Ware, and losing starters Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher to free agency.
The Cowboys decided to address the defensive line in the second round when they made a trade with division rival Washington for their 34th draft pick. For the 34th pick, the Washington Redskins received the Cowboys 47th overall pick in the second round (Trent Murphy) and the 78th pick in the third round (Spencer Long).
With the completion of the trade, the Dallas Cowboys decided to draft the Boise State Broncos defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cowboys viewed Lawrence as the best remaining defensive end in the 2014 NFL Draft and a player that could play as the LEO (left end) or the right defensive end in the Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme.
DeMarcus Lawrence’s professional career didn’t get off to a very good start in 2014. The rookie defensive end fractured his right foot in training camp and had to start the year on injured reserve.
Lawrence’s first appearance on the field as the right defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys was in week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately, the lost time affected his performance on the field and he finished the regular season with just 11 tackles and zero sacks.
Lawrence did play a significant role in the wild-card playoff game against the Detroit Lions on January 4, 2015.
DeMarcus Lawrence nearly made the play that would have ended the game with the Cowboys leading 24-20, with just about two minutes remaining in the game. Matthew Stafford fumbled deep in Detroit’s territory, but instead of just falling on the ball, DeMarcus Lawrence decided to scoop the ball up and try to score. Unfortunately, Lawrence fumbled and Detroit recovered the ball.
Lawrence would however redeem himself on the ensuing drive. Detroit was facing a 4th and 3, with a minute left in the game. The Lions were nearly in field-goal range, but DeMarcus sacked quarterback Matthew Stafford causing a fumble. Lawrence wisely fell on the football this time and didn’t try to advance it, thus sealing the game for the Dallas Cowboys.
In preparation for the 2015 season, DeMarcus Lawrence transformed his body with the help of the Cowboys’ strength and conditioning program, in hopes of being better prepared for the season.
With the addition of Greg Hardy, DeMarcus Lawrence was moved to left defensive end and would end up having a bigger impact than he did as a rookie. His improved physical presence and pass rushing skills continued to develop on a weekly basis. He had a streak of at least one sack in each of the last seven games, and finished the season with a total of eight. He also finished second on the team with 31 quarterback pressures and 56 tackles.
In January 2016, DeMarcus Lawrence had back surgery that ended up being more serious than expected. DeMarcus Lawrence was penalized the first four games of 2016 due to violating the league’s substance abuse policies.
The total value of DeMarcus Lawrence’s rookie contract is $5,506,648 and is fully guaranteed to make $3,895,138 of that. DeMarcus Lawrence will make an average of $1,376,662 per season over the entirety of his four-year rookie contract.
He is entering the third year of this contract and will make $920,604 and have a cap number of $1,501,813 in 2016. In 2017, Lawrence will make $1,170,906 and will have a cap number of $1,752,115.
He hasn’t really done much to warrant a second contract from the Dallas Cowboys, but if he can keep his nose clean and continue to progress, he could become a fixture on defense for years to come.
Terrance Williams Was OK, But Cowboys Need More From Michael Gallup
Just yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys declined an option on Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' contract and ended his six-year tenure with the team. One reason the veteran was no longer in their plans was the presence of Michael Gallup, who the team has high hopes for entering just his second NFL season.
It's interesting to compare Gallup and Williams on several levels. Just as Terrance's time ends, having only made a few appearance last year in just three games, Michael was a fast learner as a rookie and emerged as the team's number-two receiver by the playoffs.
Both were third-round picks, with Williams (74th) being selected just seven spots higher overall in 2013 than Gallup (81st) was in 2018.
Terrance came to Dallas when Dez Bryant was firmly entrenched as the team's primary receiver. Michael was drafted less than a month after Dez was released, but Amari Cooper soon established himself as the number-one WR midway through the year.
In both cases, the Cowboys hoped that their third-round selection would yield a player who could at least play a complimentary role as a solid roleplayer, if not regular starter.
For all his warts Terrance Williams was ultimately a solid draft pick. He started in about 75% of the games he played in and was a proficient run blocker, helping both DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott have big years. He also made some highlight reel catches in his time.
But with those big plays came some big blunders. Terrance often had a bad drop for every good catch he made. A huge mental error may have cost Dallas the 2016 season opener against the Giants. And if the team wasn't already starting to turn on him, his 2018 arrest for public intoxication seemed to push them over the edge.
That said, the biggest issue with Williams was his inability to produce without other plays drawing attention. He didn't rise to the occasion when Dez Bryant was injured. He rarely even made defenses pay for giving Dez too much attention.
At his best, Terrance was a solid number-two receiver. Plenty of teams who've spent first-round picks on receivers wish they could they'd gotten as much in return. Nobody should be disappointed with how that 2013 third-round pick turned out.
But when it comes to Michael Gallup, Dallas should hope that Williams' career is the floor for Gallup's potential. As teams key on Amari Cooper going forward, can Gallup do damage in ways that Terrance rarely could?
Even more importantly, if Cooper were to ever get injured, could Michael step up and take on a larger role? Can Dallas finally have a number-two receiver with the capacity for occasionally taking the lead?
That may be putting too much pressure on young Mr. Gallup but it's really not an unfair expectation. Recent drafts have produced highly productive third-round receivers such as Keenan Allen, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, and Tyler Lockett.
Even more pressure comes if Cole Beasley leaves the team in free agency. While his role lessened toward the end of 2018, Cole remained one of Dak Prescott's favorite options in clutch situations. He was almost impossible to stop with just one man covering him, and that gave defenses a real dilemma once Amari Cooper arrived.
Can Gallup fill those shoes? Can he become a reliable target when the game is on the line?
In the end, all Michael has to do is be a solid starter to provide a great value for his draft selection. The Williams standard isn't a bad measure.
But if the Cowboys ever want to win more than just the occasional playoff game then they need another receiving threat who truly punishes opposing defenses. They need the next Alvin Harper, not the next Terrance Williams.
We can only hope, as the team does, that Michael Gallup is up to the task.
Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.
Since Kris Richard has taken over the back-end of the Dallas Cowboys defense, they have clearly shown a bias towards a "type" of cornerback. Richard, looking to build this Dallas unit in a similar form to his Seattle teams, has prioritized long corners both in height and arm length.
As his responsibilities within the organization increase, it's only fair to expect Kris Richard to have more say in who the Cowboys' defense acquires in terms of talent. This means we should anticipate more defensive backs who fit his type, such as Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.
So why does Lonnie Johnson fit the mold of what Kris Richard tends to look for? Well, for starters, he is 6'3" and 206 lbs with 32 1/4" arms. He's a long corner with excellent size and the trait profile which indicates he could be the perfect candidate to play cornerback in Dallas.
But while he might look great on paper, the tape is always the most important factor for evaluating and projecting talent. And, for Johnson, the tape isn't all-that great. Despite his length, Johnson struggled mightily in press-man coverage at Kentucky. Too often he is late or ineffective with his hands, leaving him susceptible to being blown by by the opposing receiver. He often loses balance due to poor footwork, and is rather average with his hips and quick change of direction.
Where Johnson was his best in college was in zone coverage, playing his deep third of Kentucky's cover-three look. Rarely did he allow receivers behind him in zone coverage, and displayed good instincts when deciding whether to jump routes or play more conservatively when playing in that deep third. He was not nearly as comfortable underneath, and Kentucky didn't ask him to play in that role too often. Because of how big he is, Johnson is able to contest at the catch point regularly, yet he only deflected 9 passes in 2 years.
What gives me the most hope for Lonnie Johnson as a prospect (besides his length) is his Senior Bowl performance. Johnson impressed daily at the Senior Bowl, looking more comfortable in man coverage and playing much better in his press technique.
Was this Johnson becoming more comfortable over time and a sign of things to come at the next level, or was it an anomaly that we shouldn't read too much into? The answer to that question is up to the individual teams, but his combine performance will play a huge role in how those teams answer.
As I've discussed already, Lonnie Johnson Jr. fits what Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks. He is long, tall, and relatively athletic, making him a clay piece for a coach like Richard to develop.
The question is, however, how much development can really occur? The highs for Johnson are rather high when he maximizes his natural abilities on the field. But too often he is sloppy in technique, or looks lost in man coverage. Whether or not Richard can "fix" Johnson completely may never be seen, but teams (especially this one) could fall in love with him as a prospect for what he can become if it all comes together.
Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson
NAME: Rodney Anderson
CONFERENCE: Big 12
POSITION: Running Back
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 24
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Follow my Instagram: @szhighlights Songs: - "Don't Know Me" by Trae Tha Truth - "Better Days" by Trae Tha Truth I do not own any of these highlights or music clips.
Before we get into the player, we should really try to get to know Rodney Anderson the person. He attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas, one of the powerhouse HS football programs in the state. He was a four-star recruit who received offers from Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but changed his mind and decided to go to Oklahoma instead. He had an up-and-down career on the football field at Oklahoma because of injuries, but did graduate with a degree in Arts and Sciences in May 2018 and is pursuing his Master's in Human Relations.
Rodney Anderson has the ideal size and athleticism to become a featured back in the NFL. He shows good patience and vision on film to allow his offensive lineman to secure their blocks before sticking his foot in the ground and exploding through the hole. He runs behind his pads and shows good strength, loose hips, and balance to run through arm tackles. More than capable of picking up those "dirty yards" and is surprisingly slippery as a runner in the open field.
Anderson is capable of playing in a power scheme or a zone heavy scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has been featured in a number of rushing concepts including gap/power, read action, and power sweeps. His talent also carries over to the passing game. He possesses soft hands and looks natural catching the ball both out of the backfield and down the field as a receiver. Solid in pass protection, but this is an area of his game where he can improve.
The biggest negative about Rodney Anderson is his injury history at Oklahoma. He is basically a one-year wonder because of three separate season-ending injuries, but bad things happen in three so maybe that's behind him. Durability will be a question mark entering the NFL though.
His vision is sometimes questionable, especially on inside and outside zone reads. Has a tendency to to try to bounce runs to the outside too often or cut back too quickly. Shows good explosiveness, but only average burst through the hole. Seems to have adequate long speed on tape, but is 40 yard dash time will be heavily scrutinized if he's able to run at the NFL Scouting Combine.
In the passing game he needs to improve his route running and pass protection if he wants to be a three-down back in the NFL. The talent is there, just not the production and consistency. Will also have to prove he can be productive against stacked boxes at the next level since he rarely saw any in college due to Oklahoma's spread offense.
If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a running back capable of being a featured back in the NFL, while also spelling Ezekiel Elliott from time to time, then Rodney Anderson is there guy. His combination of power, balance, explosiveness, and scheme diversity could come in handy as their RB2. Not only would he provide a good insurance policy if the unthinkable were to happen to Zeke, but he could take over if they decide not to give No. 21 a contract extension.
There is a lot to like about Rodney Anderson's game and his ability to contribute in the running and passing game, but he is not by any means a clean prospect. Despite his immense talent, his injury history and lack of consistency in college is bothersome. But, as a mid-round pick the reward far outweighs the risks. Paired with Elliott, the Cowboys could have a formidable one-two punch in their backfield and could pound opposing defenses into submission.
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