Cowboys 2016 NFL Draft: A surprising name at four
Although the Dallas Cowboys are expected to choose from three top prospects with their fourth overall draft pick, this pass rusher could also be in the mix.
In less than a week, the Dallas Cowboys number will be called fourth overall in the first round of the NFL Draft. And after trades involving the top two picks have taken the top quarterback talents off the board, the Cowboys are expected to choose from three of the draft’s best prospects.
Those names include Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, his teammate running back Ezekiel Elliott and Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey. But now a fourth name has emerged as a possible option. And that’s Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson.
Recently mocked to go to the Cowboys by former NFL wide receiver Curtis Conway, who is now working as an analyst for NFL Network, Lawson is a name many believe would not crack the top ten.
"“Now this is going to shock everyone. I’m going with my man, Shaq Lawson for the Dallas Cowboys,” Conway announced on Path to the Draft on Thursday. “Cowboys, a true 4-3 defense. And I know some people like Bosa. I actually Bosa also. But when I look at the tape, especially this year, Shaq lined up every single time against the left tackle, which means that’s your best offensive lineman. I saw Bosa periodically, he can line up anywhere but he made most of his money on the right tackle. I’m giving a slight nod to Lawson…”"
Last season, the junior out of Clemson recorded 59 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks. Still, many view Lawson as the third best pass rusher in this draft class behind Bosa and Oregon’s DeForest Buckner. But he does have a first round grade.
The Cowboys are in desperate need of a pass rusher since both Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey are free agents. Throw in the fact second-year defensive end Randy Gregory has been suspended for the first four games of the season due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and now DeMarcus Lawrence faces a similar penalty for using amphetamines, and Dallas seems backed into a corner here. They need a talented defensive lineman without all the drama.
And if the reports about Lawson’s attitude and locker room presence are correct, he could be more enticing to the Cowboys than either Bosa or Buckner considering their recent run of bad luck with pass rushers.
"“I’m told the [Shaq Lawson] is a warrior; not only on game day, but on the practice field, and his motor is always on,” NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline wrote on WalterFootball.com recently. “He’s someone teammates are drawn to, and the feeling is Lawson will be a major asset on game day, on the practice field and in the locker room.”"
With the fourth overall pick, you want to land a franchise-changing player. One that could push this team back into the playoff hunt. Is Lawson that player? Who knows. Is he a better player than Bosa, Ramsey or Elliott? That is what the Cowboys have to decide by next Thursday. It’s certainly a task I don’t envy.
Next: Cowboys Top Three Draft Picks - Best Case Scenario
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