Former Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence on Friday became one of the hottest commodities in the NFL Draft's second round.
The Dallas Cowboys paid a steep price to ascend to the second pick of the second round - No. 34 overall - and grab Lawrence, who racked up 20 sacks in two seasons at Boise State.
The Cowboys needed a new right defensive end with elite pass-rushing ability, and Lawrence was the only player left who fit their criteria.
"He can get after the quarterback and make plays," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said at the team's press conference. "There are a lot of defensive linemen in the draft, but we felt that there were only a few guys that could play that spot that have that elite skill to be able to do that."
Lawrence, who left after his junior season, is the seventh-highest-drafted player in Boise State history. He is the 12th Bronco drafted in the past five years. Six of those players landed in the first two rounds, and this is the fifth straight year the Broncos have been represented in those rounds.
Lawrence grew up rooting for the Cowboys because his dad is a big fan of the team. He seemed stunned when owner Jerry Jones called him - but became more excited when doing an interview with Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan.
"I'm going to put on a show for all of Jerry's customers and fans," Lawrence said.
Later, on a teleconference with reporters who cover the Cowboys, Lawrence said you couldn't be in his dad's house if you weren't rooting for the Cowboys.
"You wanted to be a Cowboy all your life, and now you get to put on that blue and that silver, so it's just amazing," he said.
He will play with two other former Boise State stars on the Cowboys' defense - lineman Tyrone Crawford, a third-round pick in 2012, and cornerback Orlando Scandrick, a fifth-round pick in 2008.
Crawford and Lawrence both played at junior colleges before joining Boise State and already have formed a "big brother" relationship, Lawrence said. He remembers sharing a pass-rush move with Crawford when Lawrence made his recruiting visit to Boise State.
"He's going to show me the right way to do this, and I'm going to trust him," Lawrence said on the radio.
The Cowboys were not shy about their interest in Lawrence. He is expected to replace former star end DeMarcus Ware, who signed with the Denver Broncos in free agency.
The Cowboys were the only team that put Lawrence through a private workout and brought him to their facility for a visit. Three other teams worked him out and 11 other teams met with him.
To get him, the Cowboys surrendered their third-round pick (No. 78 overall) to the division rival Redskins and swapped second-round picks. The Cowboys moved from pick No. 47 to No. 34 - leaping in front of the Atlanta Falcons. Several experts figured the Falcons would take Lawrence at No. 37.
According to the chart general managers use to value draft picks, the Cowboys paid 200 points for a move worth 130 points.
"We knew that we might have to give up a little more than the charts read out," said Stephen Jones, the Cowboys' chief operating officer. "That can happen sometimes when you want some guy, and we really wanted this guy."
Lawrence might have gone even higher if not for two dings on his resume.
He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine, the slowest among the top pass rushers. He improved to 4.65 at pro day in Boise.
"He wreaks havoc in the backfield," ESPN's Mel Kiper said during Friday's broadcast. "What shocked me was his 4.8 40 at the combine. I thought he played like a 4.55, 4.6 guy."
Lawrence also was suspended three times for one game each at Boise State for unspecified violations of team rules. Lawrence attributed the suspensions to "childish behaviors" and adjusting to life on his own as he moved from Aiken, S.C., to Butler Community College in Kansas to Boise State.
The Cowboys investigated the issues and were satisfied with what they heard.
"We felt like those are issues that are in his past," Garrett said, "and he is the kind of guy we want to bring to this football team."
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat