You want to know what the Cowboys sacrificed in the draft to move up to get Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence in the second round _ most likely a starting defensive and a starting guard that would have cemented their offensive line for a decade.
At least that’s the word, according to vice-president Stephen Jones, who revealed in a conference call with season ticket holders on Tuesday that the Cowboys would have drafted Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy and LSU guard Trai Turner if they had stood pat in the second and third rounds on Friday.
But it also speaks volumes about what type player the Cowboys believe they have in Lawrence and why they desperately traded the 47th and the 78th overall picks in the draft on Friday to trade up 13 spots to take him 34th overall. They badly needed a premier pass rusher to replace the departed DeMarcus Ware, justifying the move up for Lawrence, Jones said.
“I would say that Ealy was probably our next pick. Sometimes what you read isn’t always true, in terms of the (FloridaState defensive tackle Timmy) Jernigans of the world and people like that – we really didn’t have him in that mix. We really felt like we needed some help at the right end after losing DeMarcus (Ware).”
“We felt like on our roster we had left end prospects, we had nose prospects, we had under-tackle – what we call the three-technique – prospects. But really, at the end of the day, we felt that Demarcus Lawrence was a much better right end, whereas Ealy might be more of a left end, under-tackle,” Jones continued. “We were going to try him there if he ultimately became our player, but we felt like there was quite a bit of difference, especially with our coach, Rod Marinelli. We felt like Demarcus really had the juice, if you will, to give us something coming off the right end in a pass rush situation.”
Regarding Turner, Jones acknowledged he was the direction there were leaning towards with the 78th pick and they ultimately gave up another starting player. The addition of Turner, along with the first round pick of Notre Dame Zack Martin, would have cemented the line for years to come, joining tackle Tyrone Smith and center Travis Frederick, who were picked in the first round in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
“We gave up, probably, what would have been a starting-type player … we probably would have ended up, believe it or not, picking another guard there. There was a guard where we were going to pick there, Trai Turner from LSU, that we liked a lot,” Jones said. “We would have fixed that up for a long time to come, but we really felt like where we needed it the most – and it was a sacrifice – was to step up and go ahead and take Demarcus. We’ll probably spend a lot of time – because you like to learn from history – are we going to be better off with Demarcus Lawrence, which we think we will,” he said. “Or would we have been better off with Ealy and a guy like Trai Turner as a guard for us.”
Ealy and Turner were both taken by the Carolina Panthers with the 60th and No. 92nd picks, respectively.
Now time will tell how they do with Panthers compared to what Lawrence does with the Cowboys _ especially Ealy, whom the Cowboys felt was decidedly inferior in terms of play-making impact at the same position.