The measurables are all there with Cowboys second round pick Demarcus Lawrence, and he drew the attention of the Dallas coaching staff and ownership with his unique ability on the field.
“We thought he was the only player left on the board who could draw two blocks,” Jerry Jones said. “There were a lot of defensive linemen left up there. None of them have the elements [Lawrence] has to be a pressure guy at the right end position.”
But Lawrence said that at the scouting combine and in meetings with teams, including the Cowboys, he was asked most about his off-the-field issues. Lawrence was suspended three different times over two seasons while at Boise State University.
“They just asked me if I put the suspensions behind me, and put my childish behavior behind me,” Lawrence said in a conference call with media members.
“It was just team violations mostly, little things. What matters is learning from those things and moving on from my mistakes,” he said.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the club had Lawrence in for a visit because they had a lot of interest in him as a football player, but that his off-the-field past was discussed.
“We have a lot of good information and he’s a guy we want on our football team,” he said.
“Our scouts do such a good job with all these players understanding where they came from and the circumstances that surround any kind of incidents they may or may not have. We thoroughly discuss all of those things so we can get our arms around them, otherwise he wouldn’t be on our board.”
The triumvirate of Garrett, Jerry and Stephen Jones agreed that Lawrence’s “childish behavior” is in his past. It was a maturity issue that he has put behind him, Garrett said.
Lawrence, a product of Aiken, South Carolina, attended junior college in El Dorado, Kansas before transferring to Boise State. He said that yielded a period of adjustments when he arrived at the division-1 level.
“It was just me growing up, adjusting to the college life. Coming from a small town and then junior college I had a lot of adjustment to go through,” he said. “Someone in my family died and I was up there [at Boise State] with nobody to talk to, so I had a lot on my shoulders. I had to learn how to take all that aggression and bring just bring it to football.”
He said his dad sent him to Boise State to prepare him for this time in his life, and to learn how to be a man on his own.
“I thank him a lot for doing that for me,” Lawrence said.
“I’ve moved on and it’s time for me to become a Cowboy. It’s time for me to grow up and do my duties and play football.”
Lawrence will be the second Boise State Bronco on the Cowboys’ roster. The other being Tyrone Crawford, a candidate for the one-technique defensive tackle spot on the Dallas defensive line.
Lawrence and Crawford didn’t play at Boise at the same time, but they have a strong relationship.
“He’s kind of like a big brother to me, he’s shown me a lot of love,” Lawrence said.
He said that when he was on his visit in Dallas, Crawford asked him for a pass rush move, and recorded a sack in the next game.
Garrett said the Boise State factor plays into draft choices like Lawrence.
“We like Boise guys. We always take a hard look at where a player has played, what kind of a program, what that program is all about,” he said. “They do an excellent job up there, it’s a very competitive program. Players that come out of there are ready to compete and they play hard. We’ve got two of them, and we’re really excited about the way [Lawrence] has learned how to play football.”