Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is facing a four-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.
According to the report, Lawrence's representatives are challenging the suspension, but the league is expected to uphold the ruling -- though it could be reduced.
Lawrence played in all 16 games last season, accounting for eight sacks and 35 tackles.
Lawrence's apparent suspension might adjust the Cowboys' draft plans. Executive vice president/director of player personnel Stephen Jones said Tuesday that the team is focused on upgrading at pass rusher and quarterback. Dallas might now decide to use the No. 4-overall pick to address the immediate need at pass rusher -- possibly setting its sights on former Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa if he's available.
Lawrence's reported scenario should be quite familiar to the Cowboys. Earlier this offseason, defensive end Randy Gregory was also suspended four games for violating the same league policy. Dallas' need at pass rusher was further compounded when it opted not to re-sign defensive end Greg Hardy, who is still on the free-agent market.