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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Marshawn Kneeland (DE – Western Michigan)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Marshawn Kneeland (DE – Western Michigan)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Western Michigan defensive end Marshawn Kneeland.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Marshawn Kneeland

Marshawn Kneeland (DE – Western Michigan)

6’3″ – 275 lbs.

Background:

Played both linebacker and tight end in high school, Marshawn Kneeland redshirted in 2019 before starting three games in the shortened 2020 season, finishing with 23-2.0-2.0. Started four games the following year and posted a 32-8.5-4.5 line. He recorded 37-10.0-1.5 on seven starts in 2022. Had his best season this past year (57-7.5-4.5).

Positives:

Has been a solid contributor for the past four seasons, making some strides in efficiency this past year. Very thickly-built edge who usually lines up in a four-point stance on the right side of the defense. Appears to have above-average length relative to his height. Excellent two-gap run defender and edge-setter with outstanding functional strength. Fires out with a relatively low center of gravity to compete in the leverage battle. Explosive power is very impressive. Has a ton of power in his hands to jolt defenders on contact; routinely overwhelms bigger linemen and can collapse the edge. Contact balance is excellent. Does a nice job of holding the point of attack against double-teams with a strong lower body. Has heavy hands to discard blockers. Discipline on the back side is good. A thudding hitter who generates a lot of pop on contact. More flexible than anticipated as a pass-rusher with some ability to dip his shoulder; not purely a power-based rusher, showing some variety in his approach. Knows how to use his hands to set up tackles when trying to win around the edge. Walks back blockers with his bull-rush to collapse the pocket.

Negatives:

Can get preoccupied with taking on blockers and struggle to locate the ball. Very solid short-area athlete, but his explosiveness wanes with distance and doesn’t have a major element of suddenness to his game. Occasionally gets too much depth on his initial move and tries to spin his way back into the play on rushing downs. Overall sack production has never been great. He doesn’t have an elite closing burst to finish his rushes. Gives very good effort in pursuit but his overall range is somewhat limited. Might be viewed as a ‘tweener’ in an odd defensive front.

Summary:

A big, tough and incredibly powerful two-gap edge-setter who bullies opposing linemen one-on-one. Shows a bit more finesse as a pass-rusher than anticipated. Might be sort of a ‘tweener’ in some defenses and probably won’t ever develop into a true sack artist but his physicality could make him a high-end early-down option. Fits best as a strong-side end, maybe even as an elephant ‘backer. Should be a second-day selection but he may not appeal to every team.

Projection: Round 2/Round 3

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