NFL Draft results 2024: Dallas Cowboys select LB Marist Liufau with the 87th pick

With the 87th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Notre Dame linebacker Marist Liufau. The Cowboys entered the draft with a need at linebacker in Mike Zimmer’s new defense. The Cowboys now have knocked off some of their bigger needs in the drat.

Angular linebacker with endless energy but a level of impatience that can occasionally pull him out of positioning. Liufau plays with good short-area burst and a willingness to step downhill and leverage his gaps. At times, he will move unnecessarily and get trapped behind a second-level blocker or lose track of where the play is headed. Liufau offers third-down value as a spot dropper with good field awareness and might have enough man-cover talent to line up over big slot targets from time to time. He appears to lack the instincts to be a consistent tackle-maker as a pro but does have the qualities to potentially compete as a nickel linebacker with special teams value as a Day 3 pick.

Draft Network

Marist Liufau is an experienced linebacker that aligned primarily as the ‘MIKE’ in the Notre Dame defense. Quick first step downhill in the run but is often incorrect in his run fit. Will also delay engagement with opposing linemen when the alley is vacant. Play strength lacks when asked to engage/disengage in one-on-one opportunities. In space, Liufau is active and consistently around the football. As a blitzer, Liufau lacks a pass-rush repertoire but showcases an innate ability to ID vacant rush lanes from the second level. Pursuit angles can be inconsistent where a lack of foot speed can quickly see him chasing a play.

In coverage, Liufau is comfortable in space but is someone whose projection looks muddied as a true three-down stalwart at LB. Instincts hurt Liufau at times versus RPO where he will lose depth to counter crossers behind his head. Open-field tackling needs improvement at this time in his evaluation (Ohio State). Excellent inside the contact window versus RBs and TEs where his quick hands will often jolt opposing players. Showcases good body placement to reroute opposing pass-catchers on short-yardage situations, as well. Allowed just 62 yards on 10 catches (11 targets) in 2023.

  • Round 1, pick 24 – OT Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma)
  • Round 2, pick 56 – DE Marshwn Kneeland (Western Michigan)
  • Round 3, pick 73 – iOL Cooper Beebe (Kansas State)
  • Round 3, pick 87 – LB Marist Liufau (Notre Dame)
  • Round 5, pick 174
  • Round 6, pick 216
  • Round 7, pick 233
  • Round 7, pick 244

Cowboys needs:

OT: Tyron Smith is no longer the Cowboys left tackle. That is something we haven’t said in a decade. With the All-Pro moving on and no heir-apparent on the roster, unless you count sliding Tyler Smith outside, the team needs a replacement.

C: Tyler Biadasz settled in with Dan Quinn in Washington, leaving a hole in the middle of the line. Brock Hoffman would be the next man up, but bet on the Cowboys bringing in some competition. (Cooper Beebe)

RB: No Tony Pollard after he moved on leaves Rico Dowdle as the top guy on the depth chart. There will be a body added here, it’s just unknown how early they will strike.

LB: The Cowboys lost Leighton Vander Esch to a medical retirement. New DC Mike Zimmer likes bigger, more traditional linebackers. They got Eric Kendricks, but they need more.

DT/DE: The defensive line’s depth was thinned out in free agency as Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler and Johnathan Hankins all departed. More bodies are required.

CB/WR: These two very important positions always need churning of the depth.


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