Marshawn Kneeland’s Draft Profile | Western Michigan, EDGE Scouting Report

Could Marshawn Kneeland enter the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft with his scouting report? His sheer power can't be ignored.

Western Michigan’s Marshawn Kneeland left the Senior Bowl as a riser in the 2024 NFL Draft class, but what does his scouting report say about his NFL projection? Could he earn a look from teams within the first 100 picks?

Marshawn Kneeland Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 268 pounds
  • Length: 34″
  • Wingspan: 83 3/8″
  • Hand: 9 1/8″
  • Position: Edge Rusher
  • School: Western Michigan
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

Production can be a guide when perusing the MAC for quality draft prospects. And across his three-and-a-half-year stretch as a consistent contributor to Western Michigan’s defense, Kneeland checked that box without fail.

After redshirting in 2019, Kneeland saw his first defensive action during the Broncos’ COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. He logged two sacks in three starts, quickly proving that something more was there.

In 2021, Kneeland played in all 13 games for Western Michigan, amassing 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. In 2022, he was one of the team’s leaders in tackles for loss with 10. Then in 2023, he achieved a career-high 57 tackles while adding 4.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss.

Kneeland garnered recognition as a second-team All-MAC performer for his play. But the greater accelerant for his 2024 NFL Draft stock was his invite to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl. There, he not only put his name on the map but also in the early-round mix.

Kneeland’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Sports a dense and well-leveraged frame with great mass and proportional length.
  • Explosive, high-energy rusher who can throttle up suddenly and attack the apex.
  • Frame grants him great natural leverage when rushing vertically and attacking blocks.
  • Combined natural leverage, length, mass, and burst can amount to awesome power.
  • Can shock tackles at contact and pop blockers upright instantly, stacking run blocks.
  • Flashes good ankle flexion and bend when he’s able to get vertical space past the OT.
  • Shows glimpses of the necessary hip flexibility to roll through the apex.
  • Stout run defender who can control blocks with tight hands and square up running lanes.
  • Has shown he can use euro-steps to manipulate rushing angles and open paths forward.
  • Knows how to use initial rushing angles to make tackles vulnerable, then capitalize.
  • Weaponizes his power profile with bull rushes, long arms, and forklift moves.
  • Able to stack counters like quick swipes and rips off initial power exertions.
  • Hot-motor rusher who’s shown he can employ counters on second and third efforts.
  • Easy acceleration and stride quickness amount to impressive range in pursuit.
  • Alignment-versatile battering ram who can play in 2, 3, and 4-point stances.

Weaknesses

  • Explosiveness, while great, might not be quantifiably elite off the first step.
  • Lacks high-end hip flexibility, and can struggle to sustain pace on stunt redirections.
  • Hip stiffness can prevent him from rolling his midsection past blocks at the apex.
  • At times, struggles to sustain acceleration while attempting to bend and run the arc.
  • Doesn’t have a great change of direction or agility, which can delay spins and shifts.
  • Sometimes drifts upright on redirections, which stalls out his base load and power drive.
  • Tendency to drift too tall as an edge setter can make him easier to displace.
  • Overall, can be more consistent with his counter quickness and precision as a rusher.
  • Sometimes struggles to re-exert and sustain power exertions against opposing anchors.
  • Non-elite agility limits his recovery capacity when initial power exertions stall.
  • Sometimes turns his back to opponents when attempting to recover, losing control.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Kneeland grades out as a fringe top-100 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He could sneak into Day 2 or be a priority prospect on Day 3. Either way, he’s a quality addition in the middle rounds, with an intriguing mix of high-floor and high-ceiling tools.

At 6’3″, 268 pounds, with 34″ arms, Kneeland has a picture-perfect power profile. He’s well-leveraged, compact, and has the length to channel his explosiveness and mass into massive amounts of displacement energy at contact.

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Western Michigan knew this, too. On passing downs, they expanded beyond using Kneeland as a pure edge and, at times, shaded him over interior blockers so he could use the extra runway to generate momentum and cave in the center of the line.

Kneeland can function as a battering ram with his sheer power, but he’s a versatile player beyond that. He’s a stout run defender with superb stack-and-shed skills. He’s a high-motor pursuit player and a high-effort competitor, and particularly at the Senior Bowl, his synergy and counter game as a pass rusher stood out.

On his college tape, Kneeland isn’t quite as consistent of a rusher as he was in Mobile. But the Senior Bowl helped give a glimpse of what he could be at his best. He’s already a well-equipped power generator who understands rushing angles and has the burst, twitch, and pass-rush arsenal to build on his power.

Kneeland’s bend component is functional but only above average, slightly diluting his ceiling. But early on in his NFL career, the former Bronco can be a solid rotational presence in several schemes. Ultimately, he has the upside to be a quality starter with usage versatility and multi-phase appeal.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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