Skip to main content

Pick by Pick: An outlook for Marshawn Kneeland


FRISCO, Texas – With the 2024 NFL Draft now completely in the rearview mirror, the Dallas Cowboys shift gears to bringing in their rookie class and acclimating them quickly to the NFL and what is expected in North Texas going forward.

It's a class that includes three offensive linemen, yes, but also some defensive reinforcements as well, including the use of a second-round pick to add some firepower and depth to the defensive end position.

In the "Pick by Pick" series, we take a look at each incoming rookie.

Today, we will discuss Marshawn Kneeland.

  • Name: Marshawn Kneeland
  • Position: Defensive end
  • School: Western Michigan
  • Selection: 2nd round (56th-overall)
  • Scouting report: Click here

What He's Bringing: The reason you may be unfamiliar with Kneeland is because he isn't hailing from a huge collegiate program, but don't let that mislead you. This is a very impressive defensive end who brings exactly what Mike Zimmer and the Cowboys need, especially following the loss of Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler to free agency. He plays with violence and a high-motor, and thrives on shutting down the run.

Where He's Playing: Another definitive run-stopper on the edge, to put it plainly. If you take a look at the scouting report in the link above, you'll see where Kneeland must improve at the NFL level but what he is already elite in doing is stopping the run. This puts him in the mold of DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys' best edge-sealing defensive end, and Kneeland will do well to attach himself to the multi-time Pro Bowler to help acclimate quickly to professional football.

What They're Saying: And now for a look at what's being said inside of the building after the selection.

VP of Player Personnel Will McClay: "The number one thing about him is the high effort and motor that he plays with. Then to be talented, physically talented enough to play at this level. We noticed him early on. [Brett] Maxie is the area scout who brought him to our attention early, and the more you watch him, the more you see NFL traits and the traits that we are looking for on the defensive side; playing hard all the time and having the ability to rush the passer outside and inside. We've talked about it before, as hard as DLaw [DeMarcus Lawrence] played at Boise State, there are some similarities there. That is what we thought about him."

EVP and Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones: "We actually had Gregg Ellis in the room to talk about him and we asked Greg who [Kneeland] reminded him of, and he said, 'He reminds me of me.' Gregg is a hard playing guy."

Second-round pick Marshawn Kneeland: "[From me they're getting] violence. Physical, high-motor, high-effort. Always find a way to get to the ball."