Almost as soon as the Dallas Cowboys made their selection of Zack Martin in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, reports started flying that they were trying to work out a trade to move up in the second round. It was widely believed that the target was Boise St. DE Demarcus Lawrence. Less than 10 minutes into the second round of the draft, that was confirmed, as Dallas traded away picks 47 and 78 to division rival, the Washington Redskins, for the 34th pick which was indeed used to select Lawrence.
The player was the best RDE on the board. There is no question he is a great fit for Dallas. What is a question is whether he was worth losing a third-round pick to make sure the Cowboys got him.
Key to understanding the the logic behind the move is that there was really no one available who was a good RDE candidate after Lawrence, and the staff made a decision to make sure they had a player who they felt could handle the job. Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett sat down after the pick and discussed this. They simply felt he was a must-have for the team, and that there was no chance he would be available if they did not make a significant move. They confirmed that their board showed that it was down to Lawrence or no one in the draft to try and fill the enormous void left by the loss of DeMarcus Ware. If they had not made a move to lock Lawrence up, then they were going to have to trust the players already on the roster, and clearly they were not comfortable with that.
Also driving the move was what happened in the first round. The Cowboys saw Anthony Barr and Aaron Donald both go several picks ahead of them. They still wanted to help the defense, and were reportedly on the phone with Ryan Shazier's agent informing him that he was their pick at 16. Unfortunately, Shazier was taken immediately ahead of them by the Pittsburgh Steelers. That sequence of events was doubtlessly large in their minds when they considered the approach to take on Lawrence.
According to the staff, they had a late first-round grade on Lawrence, so the feeling was that he was indeed worth the cost.
There has been a lot of concern about what the Cowboys gave up in a draft that is considered to a lot of value into the third and fourth rounds, but there is also a lack of quality pass rushers in the middle of the draft. The price was steep. The decision makers felt that it was unavoidable.
What do you think? Do you buy the reasoning? Do you think no player left was worth the price? Do you think he was the wrong player to take anyway? Let us know.