DeMarcus Lawrence was drafted in 2014 to be what Dallas Cowboys personnel chief Will McClay called, according to a CHQ exclusive, “a QB hunter,” ideally, filling the gap left by a released DeMarcus Ware. The lean 251-pound rookie version of Lawrence missed eight games with a foot injury, and went sack-less in the second half of the season, but posted two sacks in the Cowboys two playoff games, including a sack/forced fumble that helped seal the team’s wild-card round victory over the Detroit Lions.
Perhaps that rookie campaign could have served as a precursor to how much of the first three years of his career would play out. His only full season, 2015 was his best season, where he registered eight of his nine career sacks playing opposite the controversial Greg Hardy. But outside of that year, Lawrence missed four games in 2016 due to a PED suspension, and three more with the back injury that forced him into his second back surgery in as many seasons.
In addition, there were concerns that Lawrence, listed in the 2016 media guide at 270 pounds, had put on too much weight since entering the league, but as Lawrence tells CowboysHQ.com, in Mike Fisher’s exclusive 1-on-1 with Tank, his weight was “never a problem”, and any images that gave people the impression he was struggling with his weight must have “caught him at a bad angle”, and added that his focus is on “trying to make sure I’m in the best shape of my life for the team.”
As we begin this week’s minicamp at The Star, he’s listed on the Cowboys website at 265 pounds, which is a step back in the right direction, and if there really is no weight problem, perhaps Lawrence is ready to be Jerry Jones’ “War Daddy” at right end, logging major snaps, and stacking up quarterbacks.
“Thats my plan,’’ Lawrence tells Fish. “It’s coming in in the best shape of my life, and playing at that right end and making sure I can do all I can at that position “
Going into the fourth and final season of his rookie contract, Lawrence is looking to put the ups and downs behind him. “My goal is 10-plus (sacks) all the time,’’ he recently told the media. “I feel like I can be a Pro Bowl player. I just haven’t lived up to those expectations, dealing with the injuries and my personal issues or whatever. My goal is 10-plus.”
But he knows he has a lot of work ahead, and he’s taking the right steps to get his body and his game ready for that type of season.
Tank tells CHQ, “We’re just taking it slow right now; the season doesn’t start until September, so … we’ve got time. I’m just basically honing in on the fundamentals, you know trying to get right. I’m at rookie pace now, so I’m learning all over again.”
It appears that Lawrence’s mind is in the right place, and he’s ready to be missing piece to the Cowboys pass rush that he was drafted to be. If that proves true, and he becomes that guy, it may just be time for Jerry Jones to start figuring out a way to make some more room in his trophy case at the Star in Frisco.
We say that because it’s our view that Dallas is a right defensive end - a War Daddy — away from boasting the best roster in the NFC. Maybe Taco Charlton helps make that happen, or maybe it’s Benson Mayowa or Damontre Moore … or, most likely, a combination of those Rushmen coming in waves.
But it would be nice to have a singular answer, a right answer at right end. We don’t think the story starts with Tank targeting 10 sacks; we think the story starts with Tank being healthy enough and good enough to win that “QB Hunter’’ job in the first place.