The Cowboys draft haul shows that they are tired of being pushed around in the trenches

It’s been the thing that has ailed the Dallas Cowboys for years. Strength. As good as the team has been they always prove vulnerable at the line of scrimmage when it comes to moving piles. Defensively, we know the history. Whether it’s C.J. Anderson or more recently James Cook or Aaron Jones, the Cowboys’ run defense is helpless as defenders are shoved around and gaping holes open up like Moses parting the Red Sea.

Offensively, it’s not much better. Last season, the team struggled to establish a rushing attack, and at times they flat-out abandoned it. Their short-yardage rushing attack was non-existent. And while some will blame the issues on Ezekiel Elliott’s departure, let’s be real. No running back can succeed when the offensive line is shoved backward and defenders meet the ball carrier in the backfield.

The Cowboys have taken small steps in remedying these issues in recent years. The selection of the powerful Tyler Smith is a good start. And despite a lackluster first season from Mazi Smith, the guy is still one strong dude. While adding a guy here and there is helpful, the Cowboys decided to expedite the process by adding several powerful linemen in the 2024 draft. They appeared tired of being bullied at the point of attack and this year’s haul shows they are committed to doing something about it.


Just looking at this guy his size immediately jumps out at you. He’s not your prototypical pass rusher. He doesn’t get off the line of scrimmage fast and he has less bend than a lamp post, but what he lacks in pass-rushing traits, he makes up for against the run. Kneeland attacks blockers with power, fully extending those long arms. His raw strength allows him to walk linemen backward. He doesn’t come at them with reckless abandon, but rather with quick processing and clever reads. He’s a run-defending stud whose combination of smarts and power will cause havoc in the backfield.


No offense to Tyler Biadasz, but when push came to shove, Biadasz always seemed to be on the losing end. He didn’t have the raw strength to handle more powerful defensive tackles in this league. That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that the team let him walk in free agency. With Biadasz gone, the team now turns to Cooper Beebe to handle the job. There are some similarities between the two as Beebe himself isn’t a brute strength guy and has short arms that are less than ideal, but he makes up for it in fundamentals. He has excellent footwork and consistently gets into the chest of the defenders. He has strong hands and uses his positioning well. When he connects, he drives them out of play. Beebe is not a raw power guy, but his smart play and game tape show he will not be pushed around.


There was a time when the Cowboys had an abundance of nose tackle depth with Trysten Hill, Quinton Bohanna, and Jonathan Hankins. All those guys are gone leaving only Mazi Smith and the veteran Carl Davis who only logged 30 snaps on defense for the Cowboys last season. Rogers will add to this depth and compete with Davis for the backup nose job. Nothing is overwhelmingly impressive about Rogers which is why he was a seventh-round pick, but he’s not a guy that can be moved. Just stick him in and watch him stay put. He’s going to occupy blocks. That’s his thing. Like a post hole, he’ll stand sturdy and do his job while others around him can make plays.


This just in, the Cowboys like big blockers. Thomas is one of the heavier blockers in this draft class at 332 pounds. Between his size and length, the physical attributes are all there. He has the power in his core to take on bigger pass rushers and uses his hands well. The length and grip strength allow him to move defenders where he wants to go. Some fundamentals need cleaning up, but Thomas’ physical traits make him a good development project.


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