Demarcus Lawrence is not necessarily a “walk-in starter” at right defensive end, coach Jason Garrett said.
“We don’t like to use that, that he’s a walk-in starter,” Garrett said. “Nobody’s a walk-in starter. You’re going to come in here, and you’re going to earn it. But we feel like he has the ability to do that, or we wouldn’t have taken him as high as we took him.”
Garrett said the Cowboys rated Lawrence as a first-round talent in pass-rush ability. The Cowboys’ previous four first-round picks – receiver Dez Bryant, tackle Tyron Smith, cornerback Morris Claiborne and center Travis Frederick – were all immediate starters.
“We feel very good about the player,” Garrett said. “We feel good about the players we have on our team, and we’re going to compete. And everybody’s going to compete for what their role is and what their job is. And again, that’s good for your team.”
Garrett said the Cowboys will start on Monday talking about how the addition of Lawrence affects the other defensive linemen, like Tyrone Crawford.
“Even if we consider him a defensive end player, say on first and second down, he might be an interior rusher on third down,” Garrett said of Crawford, a third-round pick in 2012 who did not play in 2013 because of an Achilles injury. “He has that kind of versatility. That's where you can really create some matchups up front, when you take those pressure players from outside and you put them inside on some guards and create these one-on-ones across the board that can be really good. And he certainly has the flexibility and versatility to do that.”
-- Carlos Mendez