Dallas Cowboys: Jadeveon Clowney

For Lawrence, it starts with his hands

May, 20, 2014
May 20
9:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Demarcus Lawrence is considered a speed rusher by many, but the Dallas Cowboys can’t stop talking about the second-round pick's hands.

It’s not that they ever expect him to catch touchdown passes, but the strength in his hands allows him to control and direct blockers.

“He’s got 10-inch hands,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “Real heavy-handed. He's got some, as DeMarcus Ware called it, his club.”

Lawrence considers himself a technique junkie. He watches players over and over again to get tips. He did it with Ware. Combine his strong hands with good speed and awareness, and you can see why the Cowboys believed he was the third-best right defensive end in the draft behind Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr.

“Really just technique and fundamentals, learning how to use your hands the proper way is a great key and fundamental to have in the game of football,” Lawrence said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot on using my hands, and I feel like I can get better at using my hands”

Leon Lett, the assistant defensive line coach, knows about the importance of strong hands.

“We were working on a hand drill on the field and he grabbed my wrist. I was like, ‘Good grief, let me go. We’re going slow, three-quarter speed here,’” Lett said. “He has big, strong, powerful hands. That was the first thing I noticed about him. I mean, he’s just a hard worker. I like the way he works. I like the passion in his eyes and his approach right now. He came in ready to go.”

Five Wonders: Never land at No. 16

May, 6, 2014
May 6
9:30
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- With the draft finally within site, unless there is some sort of rain delay, it’s time for Five Wonders to return.

We’ll keep them focused on the draft.

** I wonder if the Cowboys are in never-never land with the 16th pick when it comes to first-round defensive linemen. That’s what an 8-8 finish will do for you. You’re stuck right in the middle and have to do too much to move up significantly and won’t get enough (some of the time) to move down big either. After Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack, there is a drop-off on right defensive ends. Anthony Barr is a project and somebody I believe the Cowboys would pick at No. 16. Will he be there at No. 16? The rest of the options available, like a Kony Ealy, Scott Crichton, Kareem Martin or Demarcus Lawrence look more like second-round picks. That’s why I think if the Cowboys move up it’s only a couple of spots for a specific player. The more likely option is to move back where they’d have better choices at the right value. Now if only some team would be willing to move up.

** I wonder what the reaction of people who live in the best-player-available world would be if the Cowboys took North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron in the first round. If Ebron is there at No. 16 and is the best player, then the Cowboys must take him, right? If you live in the best-player-available world in which there is no gray area, then Ebron is your guy. Hooray. But after taking Gavin Escobar in the second round last year and seeing Jason Witten make another Pro Bowl in 2013, do the Cowboys need a first-round tight end? You might hate the word “need” but I don’t. Need has become the four-letter word in draft circles. If they take Ebron, they are saying the Escobar pick was a mistake and Witten is on his final legs. Ebron is a terrific talent, but the Cowboys can’t pick him. I do think, however, the Cowboys would take a tight end (more of a blocker than receiver) later on in the draft.

** I wonder how much scheme versatility will factor into the Cowboys’ decision making Thursday-Saturday. The elephant in the room is that Jason Garrett must win now. He is in the final year of his contract. If he doesn’t win, then Jerry Jones doesn’t have to fire him. He just needs to pick a new coach. But let’s say Jerry falls in love with a coach who has a 3-4 background or an offensive coach who wants to bring in a 3-4 coordinator. Can the Cowboys make the switch again? They felt they had the tools to move from a 3-4 to a 4-3 somewhat seamlessly and we saw how that worked in 2013. If the Cowboys picked Aaron Donald in the first round, then would he fit in a 3-4 scheme next year? He doesn’t look like a 3-4 player. It is a fatalistic view to have going into a draft, but the Cowboys could find some defensive prospects that offer versatility in a 3-4 or 4-3, like Barr, Ealy, Lawrence and possibly Ryan Shazier.

SportsNation

Which position should the Cowboys address first in the draft?

  •  
    42%
  •  
    27%
  •  
    4%
  •  
    24%
  •  
    3%

Discuss (Total votes: 11,844)

**I wonder if third round is the area in which the Cowboys target an offensive lineman. Of the linemen not named Zack Martin who visited Valley Ranch before the draft, almost all of them are in that Rounds 3-4 neighborhood like Gabe Jackson, Trai Turner, Jack Mewhort and Billy Turner. To be clear, in just about every mock I’ve been asked to participate in, I have the Cowboys taking Martin at No. 16. If they go offense there, I think they need (there’s that word again) to go defense with the second- and third-round picks, provided the grades match up. I’m breaking all ties in the defense’s favor. I’ll add this note: The last middle-round (Rounds 3-5) offensive lineman to pan out for the Cowboys was Doug Free (fourth round) back in 2007. And it took him well into his third season to get on the field. Since then the Cowboys have missed on Robert Brewster (third, 2009) and David Arkin (fourth, 2011). I’ll give them partial credit for Sam Young (sixth, 2010) since he’s still in the league. Their best middle-round offensive lineman in the last 10 years has been Stephen Peterman (third, 2004) and his playing time came with the Detroit Lions after he was cut.

**I wonder if the extra time in the draft has led teams to overanalyze things. The New Orleans Saints attempted to bust up the boredom by spending some time in Las Vegas. Some other teams took a week’s break earlier in the process. The Cowboys altered their schedule some but not that much. Too often we hear teams talk about the importance of watching the players play and not putting as much stock into the combine or pro days. And every year there are guys that come out of nowhere, like Pitt quarterback Tom Savage, and small-school gems, like Pierre Desir. Maybe they will be great finds. Who knows really? The extra time served up plenty of interest, which the NFL craves, and allowed for more mock drafts than ever before, but did it really serve the teams well? We’ll find out in a couple of years.

Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 1

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
1:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss the Cowboys possibly taking a safety in the first round, why Caleb Hanie was brought in, drafting a cornerback in the first round, Rod Marinelli’s ability to adapt and Tony Romo as a free agent.

Part 2 of the mailbag will be delivered on Saturday. If you have a question, fire one off to me via Twitter (@toddarcher).

Away we go:

.

Cowboys Twitter mailbag, Part 2

March, 29, 2014
Mar 29
12:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we’ll discuss the next contract for Dez Bryant, adding a receiver in free agency or the draft, how much pressure is on the offense to perform in 2014, and whether the Cowboys will move up in the first round.

If you want to look at Part 1, click here.

Away we go:
.

Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 1

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
12:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss Jason Witten, the Cowboys' draft plans and who gets the next big deal from the club.

Remember to look for Part 2 on Saturday. And if you have questions, send them to me via Twitter (@toddarcher:) and use the #cowboysmail hashtag.

Away we go:
.

Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 2

February, 15, 2014
Feb 15
12:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready for you. If you want to read Part 1, click here.

We talk about the futures of Miles Austin, Kyle Orton and Doug Free; the chances of taking an offensive lineman in the first round, and when Jerry Jones might sell the club.

Away we go:
.

Kiper/McShay mock draft reax: Cowboys

February, 6, 2014
Feb 6
3:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Mel Kiper Insider and Todd McShay Insider have many differences in their mock drafts, but when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys the two ESPN Insiders have the same name: Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

The Cowboys could use a safety opposite Barry Church, but the biggest need for the Cowboys is along the defensive line.

Kiper and McShay had five defensive lineman drafted by the time they had the Cowboys pick at No. 17 (evidently they believe the Cowboys will lose the coin flip to the Baltimore Ravens at the NFL Scouting Combine): Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, Timmy Jernigan and Louis Nix were gone by the 15th pick.

Kiper did not have another defensive lineman going in the first round. McShay had two more: Stephon Tuitt, whom he projected to the Cowboys in his first mock draft, and Ra'Shede Hageman.

If evaluations of Kiper and McShay hold true through May, then the Cowboys could find themselves in a dead spot for defensive linemen with the No. 17 pick, which is why Clinton-Dix makes sense. Louisville’s Calvin Pryor could also get into the mix as well.

But what about an offensive lineman like Notre Dame’s Zack Martin? The Cowboys have taken Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick in the first round in two of the past three years to build a core on the line. Martin could be the third.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider