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Friday, May 9, 2014
Cowboys paid premium for Lawrence

By Tim MacMahon

IRVING, Texas -- The draft trade charts say that the Washington Redskins got the best of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys don't care. They were willing to pay a steep price for the player they considered to be the last premier pass-rusher left on the board.

Demarcus Lawrence
The Cowboys had a first-round grade on Demarcus Lawrence.
The Cowboys gave up the 47th and 78th overall picks to move up to No. 34 and select Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence, who they believe was the only remaining available player who could make an immediate impact as a right defensive end, Dallas' most glaring need after the cost-cutting release of DeMarcus Ware.

"We really felt like we wanted to help the defense, and we knew that we might have to give up a little more than the charts read out," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "As we all know, that can happen sometimes when you want some guy, and we really wanted this guy.

"The biggest thing was we wanted to get up there at the top [of the second round] because we thought he could go because of his unique ability. We didn't want to take a chance on losing him."

According to one widely used draft trade chart, the No. 34 pick is worth 560 points. The picks the Cowboys gave up were worth 630 points.

Jones said the Cowboys discussed the deal with the Redskins all day and "sweetened the pot a little bit" to get it done when it came time to make the pick.

"This was a classic case of seeing a need," owner/general manager Jerry Jones said. "The question in my mind was just how much do you pay for it? Just how much would you go?"

The Cowboys were willing to go higher than the charts said they should for one of 20 players they gave a first-round grade. They view Lawrence as one of three immediate-impact right defensive ends in the draft along with No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney and No. 9 pick Anthony Barr.

Dallas hoped that Barr, defensive tackle Aaron Donald or outside linebacker Ryan Shazier would be available when they got on the clock with No. 16, but Donald and Shazier were selected in the few picks before them. Lawrence was the next defensive player on Dallas' board, but Stephen Jones said he would have been a reach at 16.

At No. 34, the Cowboys think Lawrence was a great value, even though they had to pay a steep price to get there.

"It's always painful to give up a pick," Stephen Jones said. "I mean, you don't like it. I don't like it. But you know, you've also got to look at reality -- a little bit of it between not having a ton of cap space for free agency, and then having a limited number of right ends.

"We a little bit felt motivated to go get the guy we liked. He fit right in. I mean, in terms of where we had him, he fits perfectly. But in terms of having to give up an extra pick, that part is a little tougher, but we felt like it was worth it. Especially a pass-rusher."