The Dallas Cowboys drafted DeMarcus Lawrence out of Boise State in the second round last year to play defensive end, perhaps to develop into a replacement for DeMarcus Ware. A year later that’s still the plan, but Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said in a conference call with season ticket holders recently that there’s a chance Lawrence could play some defensive tackle this year as well.
Last season, Nick Hayden and Tyrone Crawford served as the starting defensive tackles in the Cowboys’ 4-3, and Terrell McClain served as a capable backup in both of those tackle spots. Aside from him in 2015, we could see Lawrence and fifth round pick Ryan Russell, who is also a natural defensive end.
“Well, McClain, we feel really good about,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He’s kind of the backup nose, the backup defensive tackle for both sides in terms of those two tackle spots. The other one who will be able to play some tackle is DeMarcus Lawrence. He can slide down in there in sub packages and rush the passer. And then Ryan Russell, you can already see is 6-4, 270 pounds, has the frame to put on some more weight. He could be a guy ultimately who might swing down inside and give some rush there as well.
“We think it’s a really good group and one that’s going to have more depth than we’ve ever had. A lot of skills there. We think we’ll be much improved in that defensive line.”