DeMarcus Lawrence Still the Key for New Look Cowboys Defense

There’s been a lot of turnover on the defensive side of the football during the 2020 offseason. They’ve made several additions to the defensive line and the defensive backfield. There’s a new coaching staff that’s bringing a more aggressive philosophy to the defense. Despite all the turnover that the Cowboys faced on defense from 2019 to now, the most important player remains; DeMarcus Lawrence.

Lawrence wasn’t able to hit the double-digit sack threshold like he did in 2017 and 2018, but he was still incredibly effective as both a pass rusher and run defender. His five sacks were the fewest he’s had in a season in which he played 16 games. Sacks are important, but they don’t tell the whole story of Lawrence’s 2019 season.

DeMarcus Lawrence finished third in run stop percentage among players who played at least 202 snaps in 2019 per Pro Football Focus after finishing second in the NFL in 2018. Per ESPN, Lawrence was third in the NFL in 2019 in pass rush win rate. In 2018, he was fourth in pass rush win rate.

As you can see from the graphic above by Seth Walder of ESPN, Lawrence was one of the best edge rushers in the NFL. He was fifth in the NFL in double-team rate among edge rushers. Walder defines pass rush win rate as rushes that beat the blocker within 2.5 seconds.

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