Cowboys draft 2024: DE Marshawn Kneeland scouting report

We continue our 2024 NFL Draft scouting reports, now reviewing players the Dallas Cowboys drafted last week. This report is on second-round selection Marshawn Kneeland from Western Michigan.

Marshawn Kneeland
Western Michigan Broncos
267 lbs
Hand size- 9 1/8” (17%)
Arm Length- 34 1/2” (70%)
Wingspan- 83 3/8” (90%)

2019: Marshawn Kneeland was a two-star recruit who played tight end in high school. He joined Western Michigan and redshirted his first season.

2020: Kneeland played in five games late in the season and registered 13 pressures and three sacks as a pass rusher. On run defense he had 23 tackles and 12 defensive stops.

2021: He featured in all 13 games for the Broncos. On passing downs he registered 23 pressures and four sacks. On run defense he had 31 tackles, eight tackles for loss and increased his defensive stops to 15.

2022: Kneeland played in 10 games missing time with a lower leg injury. He accumulated 38 tackles, 10 TFL and 24 defensive stops. He had 25 pressures and two sacks even with the reduced playing time.

2023: Started ten games. He had a career-high with 57 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He also added five sacks and 37 pressures.

2023 Statistics:
557 Defensive snaps
57 Total Tackles
8 Tackles for Loss
5 Sacks
37 Pressures
35 Defensive Stops
2 FF
2 Penalties

NFL Combine/Pro Day:
10-Yard split- 1.66s (35%)
40-Yard Time- 4.75s (62%)
Vert- 35 1/2” (75%)
Broad- 119” (67%)
3C- 7.02s (80%)
Shuttle- 4.18s (92%)

Second-team All-MAC (2023)

Overall- 86.0
Speed- 73
Acceleration- 67
Agility- 90
Strength- 79
Tackling- 75
Pass Rush- 82
Run Defense- 85
Discipline- 96


  • Shows very good agility and change-of-direction skills
  • Motor runs hot all day
  • Shows good strength and balance to set the edge on run plays
  • Very versatile in terms of how he can align. He played both sides of the line, 3-tech, 4i and as a stand up defender in the two-point stance as the Joker. He also played 85 snaps as off-ball linebacker last year.
  • Very good versus run where he shows amazing hustle to chase the ball carrier down or find them in the trash.
  • Has an NFL ready bull-rush


  • Not an elite athlete
  • Bend around the edge as a pass rusher needs refinement
  • Had 12 missed tackles the last two seasons
  • Lacks power when holding the point of attack when in the three-point stance
  • Needs to work on hand usage to disengage from blocks

Marshawn Kneeland is a super high-motor player who shows incredible agility and strength that stays at the same intensity from snap one until the game ends. His ability to stop the run is evident and he is exceptional on early downs at locating the ball carrier. His high motor and brilliant run defense is seen from a range of positions on the defensive front offering massive versatility. But it’s his hustle that’s his biggest strength.

His athletic profile and lack of sack numbers tells you that he’s not going to be a big pass rusher at the next level and the missed tackles in the backfield needs work. His speed-to-power could also do with some work. How that translates in the NFL is the toughest part of his evaluation.

Overall, Kneeland is an obvious early Day 2 pick. He shows good strength off the ball and is fantastic at maintaining the line on run plays. He projects best as a five-tech or 4i but he’s so position versatile he can produce in any alignment. Expect him to play in heavy rotation initially and work toward starting snaps very early in his career.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys

Mid second-round grade

(Consensus ranking based on the average ranking from 90 major scoring services)


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