Oct 19, 2013; Boise, ID, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (8) throws Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback Cody Fajardo (17) to the turf for a loss of yardage during the second half against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Bronco Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Wolf Pack 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Fans: Don't Confuse DeMarcus For DeMarcus

The highest of expectations are usually reserved for rookies drafted in the top ten, not those drafted in the second round…

That is, unless the team that drafts you moves up thirteen spots and trades with a divisional rival giving up a third round pick in the process…

And you happen to be the only player drafted at your position, being asked to fill one of the biggest needs on that team…

And that team just finished a season with the worst defense in its storied history…

And the guy you are “replacing” shares the same first name as you…

And that guy just happened to arguably be one of the best defensive players to ever play for the franchise…

Welcome to the NFL DeMarcus Lawrence.  No pressure, right?

Oh, did I forget to mention that Mr. Lawrence is a brand new father.  Anyone that’s ever been in that position before feels an immediate pressure to be everything you can to that new little person in your life who depends on you for everything.  Literally. Everything.

Talk about having your work cut out for you.

The moment that his name was read as the 34th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the absurdity came.  Twitter blew up with thousands and thousands of the same basic tweet sent out by those within Cowboy Nation:

“We got our new DeMarcus”

Maybe.  Possibly.  But can we just marinate on that for a minute people.  The “old” DeMarcus has eight sacks in his rookie year.  If the “new” DeMarcus only gets four or five, is he going to be considered a bust in the immediate gratification age?  Last year, a grand total of four defensive players drafted had more than four sacks in their rookie seasons.  Two of those four players were drafted in the top six picks overall.

By his second season, the “old” DeMarcus was a Pro-Bowler with almost twenty sacks to his credit.  Year three in the league saw DeMarcus Ware add 14.5 sacks to that total, as well as racking up twelve forced fumbles, two touchdowns, an interception, a fumble recovery and an All-Pro nomination.  Greatness was evident.  Good luck filling those shoes kid.

Here’s the thing though, while it would be beyond amazing if the Cowboys caught lightning in a bottle a second time and Lawrence matched Ware’s production, everyone must realize that if it doesn’t happen, it does not necessarily make him a Morris Claiborne sized bust.  If the “new” Demarcus gets seven sacks each of his first three years, that’s pretty consistent production.  It would also be thirteen less than the “old” DeMarcus.  Would Cowboys fans, beaten down by mediocrity and disappointment, see the glass half empty or half full?

Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive end Demarcus Lawrence speaks at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence speaks at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is by the sounds of things, the new DeMarcus is fully aware of the irony and not shying away from the comparisons and challenges that come with replacing a legend.

“I know it’s some big shoes to fill, but I’m going to work my butt off and give it my all,” he said. “I’m going to do all I can to become the best and one day fill those shoes.”

That’s the best answer he could have possibly given at that moment.  He followed up with an even better answer when asked about the number he would choose and if it would be the infamous “94”…

“No, no – I’m my own Demarcus,” he said. “I don’t like to try to be nobody else, I’m going to be me. And I’m going to do it well.”

There you go, kid.  Acknowledge the past but make sure you exude the confidence it is going to take to be what the organization will need you to be.  He showed even more intelligence by eventually settling on the number 90.  Essentially, just being available and not being a complete jerk will be an improvement over the previous guy who sported that number.

I was on record for saying the Cowboys paid too much of a price to draft Lawrence and I am not going to back track now.  I hope beyond hope that I am wrong in this assessment and that the new DeMarcus reminds me of the old DeMarcus immediately.  I also won’t be playing the “told ya so” card if it doesn’t happen and I hope other fans don’t either.  The new kid deserves a fair chance to make his own name, even if it just so happens to be shared with a former Cowboy who truly might just be irreplaceable.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Demarcus Lawrence DeMarcus Ware

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