Why they drafted him: Demarcus Lawrence

May, 9, 2014
May 9
9:20
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys drafted Demarcus Lawrence to replace DeMarcus Ware, who was released in the offseason.

Finding a pass rusher to upgrade the defensive line was critical. Lawrence, who will play right defensive end, is that player.

Last season Lawrence picked up 20.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. In two seasons at Boise State, Lawrence had 34 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three blocked kicks.

This is a player who makes plays on the ball and pressures the quarterback. The Cowboys were missing that until swapping picks with the Washington Redskins, moving from No. 47 to No. 34 and also giving up their third round pick, 78th overall.

Dallas clearly felt Lawrence is worth giving up a third-round pick. The Cowboys had only two right defensive ends ranked higher than Lawrence: Jadeveon Clowney and Anthony Barr.

The Cowboys missed out on Ohio State inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who they envisioned playing the weakside. One team official said Shazier and middle linebacker Sean Lee would have been a solid combo.

But when Shazier went to Pittsburgh at No. 15, the Cowboys selected Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin. Dallas is expected to play Martin at guard as a rookie.

Friday evening, the Cowboys knew upgrades to the defense.

The Cowboys will use Lawerence quickly and after two days of the draft, the Cowboys have drafted two starters for 2014.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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