When the Dallas Cowboys moved up from the 47th overall pick to the 34th to select defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, they knew that they were technically overpaying by also giving up their third-round pick, but they believed that Lawrence will prove to be worth it.
“There was one other player [available] that we thought could really help us on the defensive line, so there were two guys, and we thought there was a pretty good difference because of the right end flexibility that he can do,” said executive VP Stephen Jones. “After going over it last night after the draft and going over it again this morning, 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. 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 because we thought that he could go because of his unique quality. We didn’t want to take a chance on losing him.”
In the end, it seemed to come down to the fact that the Cowboys felt Lawrence is more likely to make a bigger impact than any two players that they were going to get later in the second round and also in the third.
“What we really look at is what we are giving up for that particular player,” Jones explained. “In this case it was a third round pick. We certainly knew looking at our board, and we were looking at our defense, that we really wanted to help, and we thought this guy was unique in terms of being one of the few guys on our board that could play the right end. We felt like to get a young guy coming at the spot that we really feel meets all the things you want in a right end it was worth it for us to give up that pick.”
Head coach Jason Garrett noted that the Cowboys had a plan to get a certain type of player, and Lawrence fit the bill perfectly.
“We just really liked him. He is a right end candidate for us,” said Garrett. “There are only a handful of right end guys in this draft. We felt like we needed to come up with an impact player in the front seven in this draft, and those impact players are high.”
While Stephen Jones and Garrett primarily handled the talking duties in the press conference, Jerry Jones did reveal what he likes the best about his newest employee and also the type of company that they ranked Lawrence with.
“I like the way that he…his instincts regarding getting to the passer,” Jones said. “We were able to get a good look at that, evaluate that, and at the end of the day that put him in a group of three players that were unique. They had [been drafted] well before he did. We certainly had him high. We basically, as you know, grade by, and have our board, by position. In the area of putting pressure on the passer, he certainly was a first round pressure player for us.”
Did the Cowboys give up “too much” to move up? Technically, yes. But, the Cowboys didn’t get “fleeced.” They knew what they were doing, and made the move for a guy they think has a chance to be truly special, and perform like a first-round pick.
Only time will tell if they were right.