This Day In Sports: Bronco sackmaster takes his show to Dallas

May 9, 2014, 10 years ago today: Demarcus Lawrence becomes the seventh-highest NFL Draft choice in Boise State history when he is taken with the second pick of the second round—No. 34 overall—by the Dallas Cowboys. Lawrence, who had foregone his senior year to turn pro, made 20 sacks and 34 tackles for loss in two seasons with the Broncos after transferring from Butler Community College in Kansas. He was first-team All-Mountain West each year.

At the time, we figured Lawrence would go to Dallas with a chip on the shoulder as he heard the questions: Why did the Cowboys give up so much to trade up to the 34th overall pick to get him—they dealt second and third-round picks to Washington—and what about those three suspensions at Boise State? Well, with a number of mock drafts considering him first-round material and with star defensive end DeMarcus Ware having departed Dallas for Denver as a free agent, it made sense.

The prevailing theory was that Atlanta was poised to take Lawrence three picks later. Just before announcing the trade, Will McClay, the new Dallas “draft czar,” reportedly leaned on the team’s war-room table to express his support of the move to Jerry Jones. “Lawrence,” McClay said, “is a Quarterback Hunter.” And the suspensions? The hot water Lawrence found himself in with the Broncos probably would have been luke-warm in a lot of other programs. Those came in Chris Petersen’s final two seasons at Boise State. It was a tight ship.

McClay’s observation has panned out. Lawrence, going into his 11th season with the Cowboys, has logged 58.5 career sacks, including 14.5 in 2017 (tied for second in the NFL). He’s been named to the Pro Bowl four times, including in each of the past two seasons. Lawrence is the highest-paid of all the former Broncos to play in the NFL, currently working on a three-year, $40 million contract extension with the Cowboys, signed in 2022. The deal has $30 million guaranteed, making Lawrence the first NFL defensive end ever to have a contract guaranteed for seven straight seasons.

Also in that year’s draft, center Matt Paradis, the one-time walk-on from Council High, went in the sixth round to Denver, and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. was taken in the seventh round by Chicago. Paradis became the sixth Idahoan drafted out of Boise State in the 21st century, joining Shea McClellin (a first-rounder), Brock Forsey, Korey Hall, Jeb Putzier, Derek Schouman and Nate Potter. Leighton Vander Esch (another first-rounder) and Scott Matlock have joined the list since. Paradis played eight seasons in the NFL. Leno has had a distinguished 10-year NFL career. He’s currently a free agent—hopefully it’s not over yet.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *