Lawrence's lofty goal: 10-plus sacks

July, 25, 2014
OXNARD, Calif. -- Rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence vows to do whatever the Dallas Cowboys coaches need him to do.

Well, it's pretty clear the coaches need Lawrence to be an immediate impact pass rusher.

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Lawrence
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsCowboys second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence has set a high bar for himself in his rookie season.
"Then that's what I'm going to be," Lawrence said.

The Cowboys moved up 13 spots in the second round -- packing the 47th and 78th overall picks to draft Lawrence at No. 34 overall -- because they desperately needed a pass rusher to replace released future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware. They considered Lawrence the last player on the board capable of stepping in right away and wreaking havoc at right defensive end.

That's exactly what Lawrence expects to do.

"My expectation is to go out and get 10 sacks, 10-plus sacks," Lawrence said.

To put that into perspective, Ware had eight sacks his rookie season. Since sacks became an official stat in 1982, only 31 rookies have racked up double-digit sack totals.

All but seven of those 10-plus-sack rookies were first-round picks. Chicago's Mark Anderson, a fifth-round pick in 2006, was the last non-first-round rookie with 10 or more sacks. Before him, it hadn't happened since New Orleans second-rounder Darren Howard in 2000.

In other words, it's awfully rare for a player who falls out of the first round to reach the goal Lawrence has set for himself.

Then again, Lawrence felt slighted by not getting drafted in the first round.

"It's probably going to stick with me the rest of my life," Lawrence said. "Every team that passed me, it's on them. Ain't nothing we can do now but play football."



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