In desperate need of an edge rusher, the Cowboys agreed to overpay for Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence in the 2014 NFL Draft. Dallas traded two picks to move up to take him early in the second round.
In a way, Dallas owner Jerry Jones did exactly what former Boise State coach Chris Petersen did -- pay a price to acquire a known commodity.
Lawrence transferred to Boise State after two years at Butler Community College. His talents on the field were evident, but away from the blue turf, Demarcus was unpolished. Petersen suspended him three times in two seasons for unspecified violations of team rules. When asked about it, Petersen hinted at Lawrence needing to manage his time better.
According to Demarcus, he has grown up since then. His girlfriend is expecting a baby boy this month, and Lawrence says he's ready to be a pro.
"Coming from junior college, we didn't have that much responsibility and weight on our shoulders. He told me that you're going to have to become a man real fast," explained Lawrence. "You're going to have to learn how to manage your money, manage your time, and be on time. If you want it all, there's always somebody you're going to have to look up to and abide by their rules. I had to learn that the hard way throughout my three suspensions, and I did."
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Matt Paradis. The former Bronco center has gone from eight-man football in Council, Idaho, to snapping to Peyton Manning.
Paradis was content as a mainstay on Boise State's offensive line. He didn't have any NFL aspirations until a year ago, when scouts began to notice him.
"It has been a great experience. We had a great ride, been through some great years," he said. "It has been a blessing to be a part of this program, and I wouldn't want to spend it anywhere else."
Three former Boise State players that went undrafted have signed free agent contracts with NFL teams. Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe is a Charger, Aaron Burks is a Buccaneer, and Geraldo Boldewijn is a Falcon.
Boldewijn's journey from the Netherlands to the City of Trees to Atlanta has been a tumultuous one, littered with suspensions and untapped potential in a crowded receiving corps. Through it all, Geraldo remains thankful for the chance to play on the blue.
"It has been a great time. I got to meet lifelong friends. I will never forget these guys," said Boldewijn. "It was like a real brotherhood, you know? It was so special to be a part of something bigger than yourself."