4 Cowboys who will be X-factors in NFL Playoffs
By Randy Gurzi
2. DeMarcus Lawrence, EDGE
While the other players on this list are considered role players, DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the legitimate stars of the team. However, his gritty style of play often goes unnoticed.
Lawrence isn’t a flashy pass rusher the way Micah Parsons is, but he’s continually one of the best in the NFL at pass-rush win percentage. He constantly racks up quarterback pressures and while he might not always get home, he makes the opposing signal-caller uneasy and gets them off their game.
On top of that, Lawrence just might be the best run-stuffer on this team. Year in and year out he sets the edge in the running game and doesn’t allow the outside run on his side. He also can get in the backfield and blow a play up, which he did against Houston — and without his run-stop late in the game, Dallas likely never gets to have their game-winning drive.
Lawrence is no stranger to big plays, and he’s even made them in the postseason. As a rookie in 2014, he had a fumble recovery against the Detroit Lions that should have sealed the win for Dallas. Unfortunately, Lawrence then fumbled the ball himself and gave the Lions a new set of downs.
From there, he made up for the gaffe as he sacked Matthew Stafford, forcing another fumble. This time, he recovered it and instead of trying to run, he sat on the ball and got it back for his offense with one minute to play. Tony Romo then kneeled twice and the Cowboys won 24-20.
This year, they’re going to need Lawrence to be the savvy veteran leader on the line and step up in the big moments. If he can do that yet again, it will be a huge help as they attempt a deep run in the postseason.