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Cowboys Mailbag: DeMarcus Lawrence still an elite pass rusher?

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Cowboys Mailbag: DeMarcus Lawrence still an elite pass rusher?

Does the addition of Aldon Smith and (possibly) Randy Gregory take the option of defensive line off the board in round 1?

Mason: Even before the surprising Aldon Smith signing, I believed that with Gregory possibly coming back that the Cowboys would hold off on taking a defensive lineman in the first round anyway. Now I would definitely be surprised if they spent a first on one. I would expect them to use the pick on a CB or WR since those are currently the biggest needs on the team and just wait and see what they have with Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory. They would be smart to take a defensive lineman in the mid to late rounds just as insurance.

Griffin: If both players are reinstated to the league, it would be a huge plus for the Cowboys. The defensive line needs help, especially after losing Robert Quinn. With that being said, I do not think those two players should change Dallas’ draft strategy. Smith has not taken a snap since 2015 and Gregory since 2018. If the Cowboys still want to bolster their pass rush, fixing that through the draft in the first round should still be a viable option.

Should DeMarcus Lawrence still be considered an elite pass rusher?

Mason: I would still consider him that just based on the attention he commands on that defensive line. It is understandable to sour on him and believe he is not elite based on the season he just had after being paid the off-season before. I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt for this past season and say that him dealing with multiple injuries combined with being the primary focus on that line when he is out there was going to be difficult for anyone to succeed. Now that he has a full off-season to train and be healthy, I think a lot of us need to see a career season from him to not only justify him being paid all that money but to prove that he is indeed an elite rusher.

Griffin: His numbers took a dip last season, but yes, Lawrence should still be considered an elite pass rusher. At the very least, the Cowboys are paying him as if he is an elite pass rusher. Having five sacks last season was less than expected, but Lawrence is still fresh off two seasons where he recorded double-digit sacks. 2020 will be a big season for him, but teams should still fear Lawrence.

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