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The Dallas Cowboys traded up to grab former Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence with the second pick of the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday.
Lawrence, who recorded 20 sacks in two seasons with the Broncos after transferring from Butler Community College in Kansas, is the seventh-highest drafted Bronco all-time. He’ll join another former Boise State junior college defensive lineman, Tyrone Crawford, in Dallas.
The Cowboys gave up a third-round pick to jump from the 15th pick of the second round to the second pick in a deal with the Redskins. The Falcons were considered the favorites to take Lawrence with the fifth pick of the round, which likely prompted the Cowboys’ move.
The Cowboys were the only team that put Lawrence through a private workout and brought him to their facility for a visit. Fourteen other teams did one or the other but not both.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said Lawrence’s time in the 40-yard dash might have prevented him from landing in the middle of the first round. Lawrence ran 4.8 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. He improved to a 4.65 at pro day in Boise.
“He wreaks havoc in the backfield,” Kiper said during the ESPN broadcast. “What shocked me was his 4.8 40 at the combine. I thought he played like a 4.55, 4.6 guy. You’re talking about a guy who, of the top pass rushers, he has the worst 40 time.”
Lawrence is the 12th Boise State player taken in the last five drafts. Six of them have landed in the top 45 picks and the Broncos have had a player taken that high in each of the past five drafts.
Lawrence left Boise State after his junior season. The NFL projected he would be taken in the first through third rounds, which sealed his decision.
“(Lawrence) has got long arms, he’s got a great feel for leverage and he’s got good change of direction,” said Andy Avalos, Boise State’s defensive line coach during Lawrence’s career. “And, as most D-ends do, he loves to pass rush. He worked tremendously hard on that stuff. He’s got a lot of natural ability. When you combine that natural ability with a love of the game and ambition and self-motivation to get better, that’s when you get a productive player — a really productive player in his case.
“ He’s worked extremely hard to be in the position he’s in right now, and we’re proud of him for that.”
Lawrence finished fifth on the team with 48 tackles and first with 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in 11 games in 2012. He finished third on the team with 72 tackles and first with 20.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 12 games in 2013, earning Walter Camp second-team All-America honors. He also forced seven fumbles in his career. He missed three games on separate one-game suspensions for violating team rules.
Lawrence, from Aiken, S.C., was named Boise State’s defensive MVP in 2013 and outstanding defensive lineman in 2012.
Here are some highlights from Lawrence’s teleconference with Cowboys reporters:
— Lawrence grew up as a Cowboys fan. “My dad, he’s the head of the household. Nobody can stay in his house unless they’re a Cowboy fan.”
— On Crawford: “He’s kind of like a big brother to me. I came in on my visit and he showed me a lot of love. When I was on my visit he asked me for a pass rush move and I told him one and he got a sack that game. So when I get to Dallas he’s got to show me some love too.”
— On joining 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 attributed his suspensions to “childish behaviors”: “It was just me growing up, adjusting to the college life coming from a small town and then college. I had a lot of adjustment to go through. Some of my family dying and I’m up there by myself, nobody to talk to or nothing. I had a lot of stuff on my shoulders and I just had to learn how to take a lot of that aggression and bring it to football.”
Quotes from Cowboys decision-makers:
— Coach Jason Garrett: “We just really liked him. He is a right end candidate for us. There are only a handful of right end guys in this draft. We felt like we needed to come up with an impact player in the front seven in this draft, and those impact players are high. They are first and second round players. He’s got very good pass rush ability. He has a quick get-off, he can bend, he shows that he can get after the quarterback and make plays when you combine his sacks and tackles for loss, and he’s just a very productive player over a two-year career over there in Boise. We think a lot of him as a player and the skill set that he brings in, the traits that he has to play right end for us. 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. He was one of them, and we feel really good about getting him on our football team.”
— Chief operating officer Stephen Jones on the trade: “We knew that we might have to give up a little more than the charts read out. As we all know, that can happen sometimes when you want some guy, and we really wanted this guy.”
— Garrett on suspensions: “I just think it is something, you know our scouts do such a good job with all these players understanding where they came from and the circumstances behind any incidents they may or may not have. We are very thorough discussing those things, and we get our arms around them, or else we wouldn’t have them on our board. We talked it all through, had a lot of really good information, and we felt like those are issues that are in his past, and he is the kind of guy we want to bring to this football team.”
— Garrett on Boise State players: “We like Boise (State) guys. We always take a hard look at where the player has played, what kind of program (it is) and what that program is all about. They do a great job up there. It’s a very competitive program. The players that come out of there compete; they play hard. We’ve got two of them (Orlando Scandrick and Crawford), so we feel really good about how this guy has learned to play football and the environment he’s been in.”
Here is the complete transcript of the media sessions with Lawrence and the Cowboys’ top officials.
Countdown begins. Been waiting my whole life for this moment. It's just so much to thank GOD for. If I'm dreaming don't never wake me up.— Demarcus Lawrence (@TankLawrence) May 2, 2014
Congrats Tank! Drafted #34 overall by the Dallas Cowboys. Fired up for you. Time to do work! pic.twitter.com/8srbtwz6mC— Andy Avalos (@CoachAvalos_BSU) May 9, 2014
I will update lists of Boise State, Mountain West and Boise State opponent players drafted throughout the week:
34. DE Demarcus Lawrence (Cowboys)
OTHER MOUNTAIN WEST
35. OT Joel Bitonio (Browns), Nevada
36. QB Derek Carr (Raiders), Fresno State
43. C Weston Richburg (Giants), Colorado State
53. WR Davante Adams (Packers), Fresno State
99. TE Crockett Gillmore (Ravens), Colorado State
OTHER BOISE STATE OPPONENTS
14. CB Kyle Fuller (Bears), Virginia Tech (2010)
20. WR Brandin Cooks (Saints), Oregon State (2013)
24. CB Darqueze Dennard (Bengals), Michigan State (2012)
25. CB Jason Verrett (Chargers), TCU (2011)
38. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Buccaneers), Washington (2012-13)
40. OLB Kyle Van Noy (Lions), BYU (2012-13)
54. RB Bishop Sankey (Titans), Washington (2012-13)
72. DE Scott Crichton (Vikings), Oregon State (2013)
82. DT Will Sutton (Bears), Arizona State (2011)
85. DT Khyri Thornton (Packers), Southern Miss (2012-13)
Highest draft picks in Boise State football history
12. OT Ryan Clady, 2008, Broncos*
19. DE Shea McClellin, 2012, Bears*
29. CB Kyle Wilson, 2010, Jets*
30. DE Markus Koch, 1986, Redskins
31. RB Doug Martin, 2012, Buccaneers*
31. FB David Hughes, 1981, Seahawks
34. DE Demarcus Lawrence, 2014, Cowboys
44. WR Titus Young, 2011, Lions
47. OT Daryn Colledge, 2006, Packers
54. CB Jamar Taylor, 2013, Dolphins
61. S Gerald Alexander, 2007, Lions
* indicates first-round picks
USA Today’s second-round mock draft slotted Lawrence into the fifth pick, No. 37 overall, to the Atlanta Falcons.
USA Today projected a Mountain West-heavy second round. It has Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr at 38 (Bucs), Nevada tackle Joel Bitonio at 39 (Jaguars), Colorado State center Weston Richburg at 58 (Saints) and Fresno State wide receiver Davante Adams at 64 (Seahawks). The mock draft also includes two players from Washington, one from BYU and one from Oregon State, all guys who played against Boise State last year. So the draft board could look very familiar tonight.
ESPN has posted two second-round mock drafts and both also have Lawrence at No. 37 to the Falcons.
Bucky Brooks of NFL Network also posted a second-round mock. He has Lawrence going 47th to the Cowboys.
Lawrence is the No. 15 player available on NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock’s list and No. 10 on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s list.
A buzz name in the 2nd round I keep hearing is #BoiseState DE Demarcus Lawrence. The top pass rusher left on the board for several teams— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) May 9, 2014
The Boise State football program has five graduates this month. Offensive lineman Jake Broyles gives the Broncos a clean sweep of 2013 seniors getting their degrees. Senior wide receiver Matt Miller and junior tight end Jake Hardee will take degrees into the fall. And two former players returned to finish — cornerback Brandyn Thompson and offensive lineman Russ Colburn.
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