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Cowboys Find Intriguing Talent in Marshawn Kneeland

Marshawn Kneeland
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys made a strategic move, selecting Marshawn Kneeland from Western Michigan as the 56th overall pick. Despite the initial surprise of bypassing higher-ranked prospects, this selection aligns with the team’s long-term vision, particularly with veteran Demarcus Lawrence nearing his 32nd birthday.

Kneeland’s standout performance at Mobile caught the attention of evaluators, showcasing his natural strength and mass as a strong-side rush prospect. Transitioning from a high school tight end, his open-field agility and ability to deliver consequential blows to opponents position him as a dynamic force on the field.

Strengths and Weaknesses - Marshawn Kneeland

One of Kneeland’s notable attributes is his versatility, evident in his capacity to play as a 4-3 base end or standing, where he utilizes his athleticism to survey the field. While his rush attack may benefit from diversification and added finesse, his relentless motor and knack for generating pocket pressure with a bull rush demonstrate his potential impact.


• Agility and Fluidity: Kneeland runs well and demonstrates agility in changing directions, essential for navigating the dynamic NFL landscape.

• Heavy-Handed Approach: His ability to deliver impactful hits creates opportunities for disruptive plays, showcasing his physical dominance.

• High Motor: Kneeland’s relentless pursuit of the ball and willingness to chase plays highlight his commitment to making an impact on every snap.

• Tackling Technique: With adept wrap and technique, he effectively sifts through moving bodies and secures tackles with precision.

• Pocket Pressure: Capable of generating consistent pocket push, Kneeland poses a constant threat to opposing quarterbacks with his relentless pursuit.

• Versatility: Equally effective with a hand down or standing, Kneeland’s adaptability adds depth to the Cowboys’ defensive scheme.

Marshawn Kneeland
© Becca Mahon/Battle Creek Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK


• Rush Technique: While proficient in bull rushes, Kneeland would benefit from diversifying his rush attack and incorporating more finesse into his game.

• Counter Moves: Improving his ability to stack moves and set up rush counters could elevate his effectiveness as a pass rusher.

• Point of Attack: Struggles to consistently hold the point when playing with his hand down, indicating room for improvement in anchoring against blocks.

• Hand Technique: Enhancing his ability to stack and control tight ends would bolster his effectiveness in disrupting passing lanes.

• Blocking Recognition: Vulnerable to being washed away against zone blocks, Kneeland could refine his pad level and recognition to mitigate this weakness.

Welcome to Dallas

In selecting Marshawn Kneeland, the Dallas Cowboys have secured a promising talent with the potential to develop into a cornerstone of their defense. While he may require refinement in certain aspects of his game, Kneeland’s combination of athleticism, strength, and tenacity make him a valuable addition to the team’s roster. With proper coaching and development, Kneeland has the opportunity to thrive and contribute significantly to the Cowboys’ pursuit of success in the NFL.


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