Demarcus lawrence scouting report

Demarcus lawrence scouting report DEFAULT

As we flip our player profile series to the defensive side of the ball, today we take a look at the Cowboys’ highest-paid defender, Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence has been often criticized for his lack of sack production since signing a long-term deal in , but when you dive deeper into his play on the field you see just how important he is to this defense.

Today, we look back at Lawrence’s underrated season and project forward to what he might do in

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Contract Status: Signed through , potential out in (Via Spotrac)

Recap: If you are looking strictly at sack numbers, most people would be disappointed with Demarcus Lawrence’s season. The now year-old once again failed to reach double-digit sacks, finishing the season with just It’s fair to want more volume in that department from a guy with a $25 million cap hit, but to see Lawrence’s true value to the defense you have to look deeper than just a sack number.

Lawrence was absolutely dominant against the run in The former second-round pick had the third-most run defense stops among all defensive ends in football at His 36 tackles against the run also were the third-best among qualifying defensive ends. Lawrence’s had a PFF run-defense grade above 70 in nine of the 16 games he appeared in during the season. His overall run grade of was also the tenth best among defensive ends in football.

Despite not posting a huge sack number, Lawrence still made an impact rushing the passer. Lawrence had the eighth-best overall pass-rush grade in football at , according to PFF. He also registered 11 tackles for loss to go with 34 quarterback hurries, tying him for tenth most in the NFL.

On an atrocious defense, Lawrence was one of the lone bright spots. He brought maximum effort and performance week in and week out and was clearly the best defender on the team. Lawrence also continued to leave his struggles with staying on the field in the rearview mirror. The defensive end appeared in all 16 games for the fourth consecutive season, proving his injury issues are a thing of the past.

Outlook: The Cowboys had a ton of struggles on defense in , and they may very well have some of the same issues in , but Demarcus Lawrence’s production will be one thing they won’t have to worry about. Lawrence has proved that he is the alpha on this defense in the past two seasons, giving max effort every play and being the clear leader of the unit.

As good as Lawrence was in , getting more sacks would be a huge boost to this defense. If he’s able to be just as good against the run and reach double-digit sacks for the first time since , Lawrence has a good shot at making his first All-Pro team in

Overall Review: Despite some of the negative outside perceptions, Demarcus Lawrence is still a dominant defender. Even on a historically bad defense in , Lawrence’s individual performance did not waver.

There’s no doubt Lawrence will once again show up big in If they want to turn things around, it’s up to the rest of the Dallas defense to follow suit.


Scouting Spotlight: Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence still shows winning traits

The start of every season brings renewed hope in the players and prospects on a team&#;s roster, both in terms of reaching their potential or bouncing back from a disappointing season. Count Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence among those in the latter group.

After playing 16 games, starting 13 and leading the team in sacks (8) and the defensive line in tackles (35) in , Lawrence&#;s encore was less than spectacular. Impacted by offseason back surgery and dealing with a similar injury throughout , he appeared in nine games, started only three and recorded a single sack and eight tackles. The Cowboys&#; defensive line also lost the presence of Greg Hardy.

But even during a subpar performance, Lawrence still showed promise and the ability to excel. Below is his scouting report heading into the season and what fans can expect from the fourth-year veteran.

The games used in this study were from the last half of the season, so if Lawrence was heavily impacted from his back injury, it would have showed in his on-field performance.

*Note: this evaluation is based solely from film study of the following games during the season:

WK-9 11/16 DAL at CLE
WK 11/13 DAL at PIT
WK 11/20 DAL vs BAL
WK 11/24 DAL vs WAS (Thanksgiving)
WK 12/1 DAL at MIN


Fourth-year DE (5, 7, 6, 9 Tech) who’s started of games, played percent of snaps and was in his third- year of Rod Marinelli’s scheme. He was impacted by offseason back surgery and by another (undisclosed) back injury suffered during the season. He has inadequate height with a solid weight, arm length and thick torso, solid overall AA, bend, and shoulder dip, with good balance.

Solid up-field burst overall, good reaction to the snap, often out of his stance near the same time as the OL. Very good competitive toughness, aggressive at the LOS and plays with a constant tenaciousness from snap to whistle, as if each play was the most important of the game. Maintains a nasty demeanor regardless of score, weather, or opponent.

Good vs the run, both Gap and Zone schemes, shows good play strength and UOH, able to get his hands inside first to shock TE’s and stack OL, drives through Reach and Angle Blocks to reset the LOS. Sets a firm anchor vs TE/OL Double Teams and good balance to stay on his feet against Cut Blocks. Solid vs Seal and Hinge Blocks, gets hands on the blocker’s shoulder to push or pull himself aside.

Solid mental processing and play speed, stays disciplined on the backside when he has contain responsibilities, keys the ball carrier quickly on misdirection, draws and reverse runs, good awareness to raise his arms to deflect passes at the LOS. Good in pursuit, strong motor to chase ball carriers, hurdles over bodies to make tackles.

Solid as a pass rusher, demonstrates good, active UOH (use of hands) to swat or swipe the blocker’s hands away, and gets inside and on the upper arms to limit their reach and punch. Shows he has a plan by varying and countering off his previous rushes throughout the game.

Displays a solid Bull Rush, bend, and shoulder dip, able get inside the OL’s pads and drives his legs to push them back, forcing the QB to move from his spot, gets underneath blockers and limits his hitting surface so they can’t make square contact.

Lacks explosiveness and quickness in his up-field burst, doesn’t put OL on their heels or beat them to the corner with speed. Tries to run around the OT too often, is more effective when he attacks head-on and counters off the initial contact.

Overall, a starting strong side DE (5, 7, 6, 9 Tech) that you win because of. A good overall run defender with a tenacious attitude who can play all 3 downs. Solid as a pass rusher with room to grow. Lacks explosiveness and quickness off the snap. His health (back) is a concern as it affected his performance and availability in

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When scouting NFL Draft prospects, there are always players who "jump off the tape" to me more than others. Why? It's tough to say -- "draft scouting" is a subjective field and there are hundreds of variables to consider. Within, there are going to be different biases and different priorities in terms of which skills or tools to look for at the different positions among evaluators.

This series of short scouting reports will aim to pick out a play, or a couple of plays, that jumped out to me as representations of why I am in a certain prospect's corner. It's incomplete evaluation, but meant to highlight what a player can do and why those skills might project to the NFL level.

DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State: 6'3,

Lawrence moves like an undersized defensive end prospect but plays with the physicality of a much bigger player. The long-armed, meat-hook-handed former Bronco is best rushing the passer -- he still has a little work to do in the run defense department -- but what I like most about him is his style of play: violent and aggressive, mean-spirited.

Lawrence does a good job of mixing speed moves to the outside with inside pressure and a bull rush. The hump move he displays in the play below is a very nice example:

Times the snap well. No wasted steps. Converts speed to power to swipe the left tackle out of the way. Closes, finishes.

The Bottom Line:

Lawrence is a tweener in size, but has a lot of physical tools that coaches love. I could see him catch on as a strongside end in a or a weakside OLB in a , but it wouldn't surprise me if he plays a number of different roles at the next level. He's not overly explosive out of his stance, but he plays with force and physicality, and can bend the edge on his pass rush very well. He's flexible and has a nose for the quarterback.

Final note: When building their NFL Draft boards, scouting departments watch every single snap of a particular draft prospect's season. Within those hundreds of snaps, there are likely some great plays and some bad plays, and a multitude of nondescript plays in between. Scouts must determine how consistently a player can display the good traits and figure out how easily coaches can mitigate or coach out the bad. This report is just a jump-off point.

Demarcus Lawrence - 2014 NFL Draft profile

H.S. Scouting Report

Athletic Background

Demarcus Lawrence is a , pound Weak-Side Defensive End from El Dorado, KS.

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Demarcus Lawrence NFL Draft Highlights, Scouting Report for Cowboys DE

Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (8) closes in for a sack on San Diego State quarterback Quinn Kaehler during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, , in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State (HT: 6’2⅞” WT: lbs.)

Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys trade 47th and 78th picks to Redskins for 34th pick)

Second Round: 34th Pick

Combine Weigh-In
33 3/4"11"
Combine Workout
34 1/2"9'5"20


  • Quick feet to change directions with a flexible lower body.
  • Instinctive defender with fine play awareness and ability to find the football.
  • Explodes from his stance with significant acceleration.
  • Consistently plays with low pad level into contact.
  • Quick and efficient with his hands.
  • Effective swim move to beat lunging blockers.
  • Sufficient speed to press the corner and overextend tackles or run the circle.
  • Can flatten out on the corner rush with fine flexibility, bends back to the inside very well.
  • Feels blockers with awareness to spin back to the inside if speed rushes are mirrored.
  • Relentless rusher with a track record of motor-related sacks.
  • Rushes with fine gap discipline against mobile quarterbacks to keep contain.
  • Lateral quickness to beat blockers into gaps and make plays in the backfield.
  • Delivers a heavy punch that can reset the line of scrimmage and contain edge runs.
  • Slippery defender who slides off blocks with regularity.
  • Picks up the ball quickly in run defense and maintains gap discipline.
  • Scrapes off blocks on the edge with relative ease to keep contain.
  • Rangy to chase down ball-carriers in the open field, gets to the ball at a high rate.
  • Played in multiple fronts and from both sides of the defense for Boise State.


  • Doesn’t have optimal length as an edge-rusher.
  • Has a lean frame that needs to be built upon.
  • Inconsistent coming off the ball, a half-step slow at times.
  • Can be over-reliant on his swim move and expose his chest to blockers.
  • Doesn’t work a variety of pass-rushing moves or string them together to set up pass-blockers.
  • Inconsistent at converting speed to power on the outside to compress the pocket.
  • Not a true stack-and-shed run defender due to a lack of functional strength.
  • Gets hung up on blocks and taken for a ride if he doesn’t win with his hands as a run defender.
  • Needs to finish with more balance and power when shedding blocks to clear contact completely.
  • Not a technically sound tackler, tends to strike too high and doesn’t maximize contact.
  • Only has two seasons of Division I football experience.
Collegiate Statistics
Boise St.4841
Boise St.7231

Personal Notes

  • A 3-star prospect as a junior college recruit in according to
  • Signed with Boise State from Butler Community College out of El Dorado, Kan.
  • Has been suspended for three games over his two-year career at Boise State, each its own separate suspension for violation of team rules or undisclosed reasons.

Ratings Chart

Graph made at


The untapped athletic potential of Demarcus Lawrence will have teams intrigued. He’s a multidimensional athlete with football instincts and surprisingly refined hand usage.

What has held him back is a lack of pass-rushing development in terms of moves and a body that still needs to be filled out. The rawness of Lawrence as a prospect is both scary and captivating, but it may be entirely due to lack of experience under high-level coaching.

Between the high ceiling and ability to play in multiple fronts, Demarcus Lawrence should be a sought-after commodity on draft day.

Draft Projection: Second Round

Demarcus Lawrence NFL Draft Scouting Report

Scouting Report: Demarcus Lawrence And Why The Cowboys Stole Him

Oct 19, ; Boise, ID, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (8) during the game against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Bronco Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Early on Friday night, the Dallas Cowboys made a move that will be talked about for years to come when discussing the NFL Draft. The Cowboys traded two valuable picks (#47 and #78) to the Washington Redskins to secure a pass rusher from Boise State. Were they impatient? Did they reach? Did they give up too much? All these things can be argued, but I believe the Cowboys stole Demarcus Lawrence in the second round on Friday night.

Today, I&#;m going to talk about the player and tell you what made Dallas trade up in the draft to get their pass rushing right defensive end. But first, it should be known that the Cowboys should feel very fortunate that he was even available in the second. In fact Demarcus Lawrence should probably be furious with Boise State University. The defensive scheme that was used when he played may have cost him millions of dollars and a definite spot in the first round. Had he been used in a similar way to Anthony Barr or Dee Ford, I&#;m convinced he would have been taken ahead of both of them. Lawrence was asked to be a &#;Four Technique.&#; And for people who don&#;t know what this means, It means that he lined up on the outside shoulder of the offensive guard. He was part of a front that rarely let him rush the passer from the defensive end spot (or known as the 7 technique.) In Dallas, he will primarily be asked to rush from the end, which is a much better fit given his skill set.

As always, let&#;s first check out what kind of athlete Lawrence is and how he compares to a few pass-rushers in the NFL:

(click to enlarge)

Lawrence isn&#;t an amazing athlete and that worries me some, but he&#;s good enough that it probably won&#;t hurt his career. His long arms and first step help compensate for his lack of elite athleticism. He has extremely long arms for his height (nearly 34&#; long) and that added length helps him mask some of his less-than-desirable physical traits.


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NFL Draft Scouting Report &#; DeMarcus Lawrence, DE Boise State

Oct 19, ; Boise, ID, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (8) during the game against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Bronco Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Lawrence came to Boise State after spending two years at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.  The impressive defensive end went from being a JUCO All-American to an impact pass rusher for the Broncos, tallying 21 sacks in 23 games.  Lawrence is an impressive athlete but he has really done a good job with his technique, enabling him to be a good run defender and one of the top pass rushers in the Mountain West Conference.

Projecting to the NFL, Lawrence has the athletic ability to be a dynamic edge rusher on the edge with speed and quickness, but pairs that with good pad level and technique that allows him to be a contributor against the run.  As a result, while Lawrence is slightly undersized, he looks like he can still play defensive end as a rookie.  There will likely be some consideration paid to him as a potential outside linebacker but he looks really effective and at home with his hand on the ground.  Lawrence projects as a first round pick because he has athletic upside and should only get better as he fills out his frame, but brings a high level understanding of what the position demands and is able to be effective while playing it honestly, fulfilling his role within the scheme.

Vitals & Build

Lawrence is listed at 6’3” lbs with a lean build.  He is by no means weak and he maximizes his functional strength consistently, but should only get stronger with time and training.  Lawrence is explosive, displays an impressive burst and has good body control as he plays low to the ground and shows great balance.  His motor is good and he works hard through the play.  Lawrence’s upside is in his ability to get stronger and just adding to what he already possesses as an athlete.

Snap Anticipation & First Step

Lawrence does a good job with anticipating the snap.  He tends to be right on it and is explosive off of the ball.  Lawrence is not remotely afraid to step at his opponent when covered up and has the ability to fly up the field when he is lined up wide.

One of the reasons that Lawrence is so effective with his first step is because all of his motion goes forward and he stays low to the ground.  As a result, he maintains his leverage, gains speed and momentum and is able to hit opponents with a rising blow, maximizing his functional strength and power, giving him an advantage against opponents.

At times, Lawrence has displayed an explosive first step.  He is able to gain an advantage quickly attacking to the outside but really uses it to gain momentum and increase his power when going into and taking on opponents trying to block him.

Block Shedding

Lawrence does a nice job using his hands to beat blocks and keep opponents from getting into his body.  He is almost always stacking and shedding an opponent before he goes and chases down a running play or tries to get to the quarterback.  Lawrence is comfortable striking the opponent as well as using his hands to knock down the opponents’ hands as they try to reach to grab him as he is sliding past him.

More strength would only help Lawrence get better, but he does a terrific job at this point in his career and should only get better.  The sheer amount of experience and amount of success he has in that realm should really help him try to make a quick transition to the NFL.

Run Stopping

Lawrence is undersized, but he does not use it as an excuse in defending the run.  He takes the action to the opponent, looking to strike them and mitigate their ability to gain momentum.  Because of strong hand use, he can get into the opponent and slow them down while working to get into the backfield and make the play.

Lawrence has shown the ability to knife into the backfield or strike out wide and chase down plays.  He does a fantastic job of reading plays, finding the football and reacting quickly to make a play.

The other area where Lawrence is excellent is stopping at heel’s depth in the backfield.  The times where Lawrence gets beaten because he went too far up the field are rare.  When he gets into the backfield, he hesitates to read the play and then explodes to the ball carrier, allowing to make impact tackles in the backfield.

There are times when Lawrence will get beat and is simply overpowered by opposing offensive linemen but he continues to work and keep trying to beat the opponent to make a second effort and still impact a play, working to help his teammates if he cannot make the play himself.

Lawrence’s size could be an issue initially in the NFL but he plays bigger than he is by making the most of his leverage and could take some people by surprise with just how well he can do the job.  One of the keys with Lawrence and what could make an extremely attractive player is he does his job in run defense.  At times, at the cost of rushing the passer, but he seems to play assignment football first and foremost.

Pass Rushing

Lawrence is a dynamic pass rushing threat and part of that is due to how effective he is in the running game.  He is not afraid to stack and shed, read pass and then rush the quarterback.  Lawrence still has the talent, athleticism and speed to get to the passer with a second effort after playing run first.  He does a great job taking on and shedding blocks quickly, so he can make a quick impact.

Lawrence is not afraid to attack both inside and outside as a pass rusher.  He has the speed to attack up the field, use his arms to protect his flank from pass blockers and work his way around to flatten to the quarterback.  He will also turn his shoulders square to the quarterback, use his hands to defeat the opponent and be in position to make the play.

One of the most effective moves Lawrence uses to defeat opponents is an inside swim move.  Lawrence does a great job of making opponents believe he will go outside and just swims inside with a straight line to the quarterback when he wins.

Lawrence plays low to the ground and is able to redirect and adjust easily, so when he gets into the backfield and has an opportunity to get the sack, he does not miss often.  Part of what makes him effective is that he is able to make his opportunities count.

Lawrence has experience attacking from both sides of the field, playing covered up or uncovered and will react accordingly.  He is a handful and a challenge for whoever he is up against and just keeps working to make plays.

System Fit

Lawrence’s best fit is as a defensive end.  In many ways, he is a classic speed end that plays on the right side and he could certainly do that, but he is comfortable to rush from both sides of the line.  He is a little undersized at this point but plays bigger than he is, so he should be able to grow into the position without too much trouble.

There will certainly be teams interested in what he can do as a outside linebacker and he looks like he could certainly perform in that role, but he is a natural when it comes to having his hand on the ground.  It would not be terribly stunning if his first season had him start out as a situational pass rusher but he looks like he should be able to earn playing time as he goes and eventually take over as a full time starter during his rookie year.  Coaches should love the way he employs technique and have a tough time getting him out of the lineup.

NFL Comparison

Lawrence’s game is somewhat similar to that of Trent Cole of the Philadelphia Eagles. Cole came out of Cincinnati as an undersized pass rusher but got bigger and stronger in the NFL, combining that with great technique that has allowed him to be a consistently effective pass rusher in the NFL.  Cole was smaller than Lawrence is now which is why he went in the 5th round of the draft, so Lawrence could potentially have more of an instant impact than Cole did.

Draft Projection

DeMarcus Lawrence is the result of great athletic ability combined with technique and an understanding of his role as a defensive end.  He is slightly undersized but should easily fill out his frame and grow into being a full time end.  Lawrence is not only a great pass rusher but he is a willing and effective run defender, who is not afraid to stack and shed, doing the dirty work and his job for the sake of the defense.  When opportunities present themselves, Lawrence makes the most of them and makes him plays.  Lawrence projects as a first round pick and while he appears to be a better fit as a pure defensive end, but he could certainly get consideration as an outside linebacker.

Some of the film used for this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at


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