2024 NFL Draft Day 2 grades for the Dallas Cowboys

After watching the Dallas Cowboys work the phones and end up trading the 24th overall pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for their 29th overall pick in the first round as well as the 73rd pick in the third round, Jerry Jones and Company sat tight to make their picks on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

By staying put, the Dallas Cowboys ended up drafting a defensive end with starting potential to add much-needed depth to the position, and a potential plug-and-play center to replace Tyler Biadasz. With their final pick on Day 2 they again addressed depth concerns at linebacker in a player who could become a special teams ace as well.

Overall, it looks as if Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft was a successful one for the Dallas Cowboys, but what kind of draft grade should they receive?

Round 2, Pick 56 – EDGE Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Saint Francis at Western Michigan

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Despite some talented players sliding within striking range in the second round, the Dallas Cowboys decided to sit tight and let things play out in front of them. In so doing, they waited their turn and selected Marshawn Kneeland to add much-needed depth at defensive end after watching both Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler exit via free agency.

With DeMarcus Lawrence entering a contract year in 2024, Kneeland’s selection could be just as much about the future as it is the present. As a rookie he should provide much-needed depth at DE and potentially take over as a starter in Year 2 if for whatever reason Lawrence is not brought back.

Given the fact he probably won’t start as a rookie and there were other positions of higher priority Dallas could have targeted, it’s hard to give them a better draft grade than a B-. However, this is still a really solid selection. After all, he was Dane Brugler’s 32nd overall player this year and gave him a first-second round grade.

Dane Brugler on Marshawn Kneeland:

Kneeland is still taking classes in the art of the pass rush, but he is charged up into contact and displays twitch throughout his frame, which allows him to defeat blockers in different ways. He projects as a starting base end whose best football is yet to come.

Round 3, Pick 73 – OG Cooper Beebe, Kansas State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Kansas State at Kansas

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The first-round trade the Dallas Cowboys completed with the Detroit Lions yesterday has now netted them two starting caliber offensive linemen to help rebuild and upgrade their front five. First it was Tyler Guyton, and now Cooper Beebe with the 73rd overall pick in the third-round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Cooper Beebe started a total of 48 out of a possible 51 games during his time at Kansas State, starting 26 at left guard, 13 at left tackle, and nine at right tackle. It is believed he has five position flex, but will likely be asked to kick inside to center and potentially step in as Tyler Biadasz’ replacement Day 1 as a rookie with the Cowboys.

Beebe’s position versatility and mauler mentality should make should make an immediate impact on Dallas’ o-line, especially if he can make a seamless transition to OC. He was Dane Brugler’s third-ranked guard, 38th overall ranked player in the 2024 draft class, and was given a second-round grade. This is great value at No. 73 for the Cowboys.

Dane Brugler on Cooper Beebe:

Beebe doesn’t have ideal arm length that most teams desire, but he is stout, controlled and plays with power at contact. He will fit both gap and zone schemes in the NFL and projects as a high-floor starting guard.

Round 3, Pick 87 – LB Marist Liufau, Notre Dame

Notre Dame v Stanford

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With the 87th pick in the third round, the Dallas Cowboys used the selection to add some much-needed depth to the linebacker position by drafting former Notre Dame LB Marist Liufau. At 6’2″, 234-pounds, he fits the parameters Mike Zimmer prefers at the LB position and could compete for a significant role, possibly a starting one, as a rookie.

Liufau started 28 career games during his time at Notre Dame as a WILL linebacker in their 4-2-5 defensive scheme. It’ll be interesting if that’s where Mike Zimmer sees him playing with the Cowboys or if he views and more as a MIKE LB. He has the toolkit though to potentially play both as well as be a standout special teams player early on in Dallas.

There are still some things the former Notre Dame LB needs to work on before he’s ready for a starting role. And according to Dane Brugler, Dallas may have reached a little bit to draft him. He had a 5th-6th round grade on him. With that in mind, we gave him a solid C+ grade because of the fact he may not be more than a backup/special teams player.

Dane Brugler on Marist Liufau:

Liufau has intriguing traits with his length, burst and violence, but he must improve his play instincts to balance out his relentless play style. He should shine as a “core four” special teamer in the NFL while he gets coached up for a chance at meaningful defensive snaps (similar the Las Vegas Raiders‘ Divine Deablo).


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