Cowboys looking to future without DeMarcus Lawrence with Marshawn Kneeland pick

The Dallas Cowboys looked to be considering a trade back scenario when they were on the clock in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, but ultimately they decided to pick at 56. Marshawn Kneeland was the selection, ranked number 32 overall by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler which is a high vote of confidence, and it felt a bit odd in the overall landscape of where the Cowboys are at right now.

While Kneeland certainly offers a lot of potential and has traits that can seemingly be developed (his size alone is impressive, but that he was so productive at Western Michigan while still learning how to rush is exciting), it is an interesting selection in the second round.

Ideally you walk away with someone in the second round who you can plug and play right away. With DeMarcus Lawrence and Micah Parsons as the team’s primary edge rushers (not to mention Sam Williams), snaps will be hard to come by for Kneeland, similar to how they were for Williams throughout his rookie year of 2022.

In fact, we are just now entering a point in time where Williams is expected to see a legitimate workload and a big reason for that is the departure of Dorance Armstrong in free agency. It seems as if the Cowboys are looking at the future in a similar way with Kneeland because this coming year is the final one on DeMarcus Lawrence’s contract.

It is a good and wise thing that the Cowboys are planning for the future so soundly, and taking swings at important positions like pass rushers is certainly not a bad thing. But again, you would have liked to have seen someone who can offer a little bit more right away given the amount of needs the team entered the draft with. Also if we are going to subscribe to a methodology of being forward-thinking (which we should!) how about applying that same disposition to contract extensions?

This discussion is not meant to take away from Kneeland as he is indeed a fun player who can potentially turn into something exciting for the Cowboys; however, this seems about 2025 more than anything barring any sort of surprise.

DeMarcus Lawrence was a second-round pick himself 10 years ago. My how time flies.


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