Latest On Cowboys DE Marshawn Kneeland

The Cowboys have Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence atop the edge rush depth chart, but the team has made recent draft investments at the position to add complementary options behind them. That effort included the selection of Marshawn Kneeland this spring.

Dallas added Kneeland in the second round of April’s draft, matching the Round 2 selection of Sam Williams in 2022. The latter has served in a rotational capacity to date, but he could take on an increased workload this season. With Dorance Armstrong and Dante Fowler having followed Dan Quinn from Dallas to Washington, the defensive end pecking order will look somewhat different in 2024.

That should open up playing time for Kneeland in a depth capacity. The Western Michigan product is fourth on the depth chart behind Parsons, Lawrence and Williams, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News writes. That comes as little surprise given his inexperience, although his college success suggests he could handle at least an early-down role during his rookie campaign. Kneeland racked up 148 tackles (including 27.5 for loss) between 2020 and ’23 with the Mustangs.

That stretch included relatively underwhelming sack production, however. Kneeland totaled 13 sacks in his college career, and his largest statistical outputs came in 2021 and ’23 with 4.5. The 6-3, 267-pounder profiles as a strong run defender and carrying that skillset over to the NFL level should allow him to carve out a rotational role in certain defensive packages.

Lawrence is entering the final year of his contract, while Parsons is on the books through 2025 (although he is one of multiple high-profile extension priorities for the Cowboys). Williams has two years remaining on his rookie contract, and a strong showing this season could put him on the radar for an extension keeping him in the fold for years to come. Kneeland has plenty of time to establish himself as a regular contributor with the Cowboys, but for the time being he is not in line for a heavy workload.

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