There are plenty of divisive subjects when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys roster and a lot of them are individual players. Some people believe that certain players are very good or elite while others think that they are overrated and underwhelming. These ideas serve as the foundations for many arguments all throughout Cowboys Nation.
There is no player that stokes the flames like quarterback Dak Prescott, but one that has come close is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. We have all heard about his unimpressive his sack numbers not being where the game’s top pass rushers live. Generally the counter to that is how great of a run defender he is. We can go around and around in circles for days here.
Wherever you stand on Lawrence individually, it does seem that the general consensus is that he is not one of the better pass rushers throughout the league.
DeMarcus Lawrence listed only as an honorable mention in ESPN’s list of top 10 edge rushers
It doesn’t help Lawrence’s case that he only played in seven games last season, nor that Micah Parsons snatched away the mantle as the group’s top defender in general and pass rusher specifically.
Tank has spoken (in a fun and competitive way) about how he wants to reclaim the Cowboys defensive throne from the young Parsons, but that is difficult to imagine happening. For what it’s worth, informed minds don’t seem to think Lawrence is one of the best pass rushers in the game considering that in ESPN’s assessment that includes input from various executives, coaches, and players, Lawrence was left out of the top 10 and included only as an honorable mention.
Lawrence made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2017-18, but his sack production stalled (14.5 since 2019), and he missed much of last season due to injury. “I watched him closely because we thought he could [be a] potential cap cut — they use him all over the place,” an NFL defensive coach said. “He’s kind of like Clowney was in Houston — all over, super dynamic. If he stays healthy, there’s a ton of production left. Joker plays super hard. King on the chessboard.”
It feels like even the most ardent Lawrence fan would agree that he is not a top 10 pass rusher in the NFL at the moment. When you look at names like T.J. Watt (sigh), Myles Garrett, the Bosa brothers, Maxx Crosby and others, there is a clear separation between them and Tank.
None of this is to say that he can’t have a bounce-back sort of season because obviously he will very likely play more than seven games and will therefore improve in just about every stat. But he turned 30 years old this offseason and obviously that is a notable thing.