2024 NFL Draft: Western Michigan DL Marshawn Kneeland scouting report

Marshawn Kneeland, who starred in football and track at Godwin Heights High School in Wyoming, Michigan, took his game to Western Michigan and became a force for the Broncos’ defense in 2020, with four sacks and 13 total pressures on just 91 pass-rushing snaps. Through four seasons, Kneeland kept that high pass-rush rate up, and in 2023, he had a career-high six sacks and 37 total pressures. At 6′ 3″ and 267 pounds, Kneeland also put up 38 solo tackles and 35 stops in 2023, and he had a strong Senior Bowl week as an exclamation point to his good game tape.

Every defensive coordinator wants a guy who plays like his hair is on fire at all times, and Kneeland certainly qualifies. He’s a multi-gap disruptor with a ton of upside, and I’m betting that a lot of NFL evaluators will set aside any small-school biases when discussing his professional potential.


— Gap-shooting edge-rusher who can quickly work from outside the tackle to the center, and will move to the pocket quickly.

— Can win everywhere from an edge alignment to head-over nose tackle. — Relentless disruptor who works from snap to whistle.

— Stacks and sheds quickly and powerfully; his 83⅜” wingspan (90th percentile for edge-rushers) allows him to establish dominance from the snap.

— Brings extra juice as an off-ball “spinner” who can time rushes and work to the quarterback in a hurry.

— Has a dynamite spin move to disengage from blockers who slow him down.


— Kneeland’s frenetic style will have him missing targets in the backfield at times.

— Could stand to have more of a plan with his hands to knife through double teams and penetrate through more adept opponents.

— Must keep his leverage together to avoid being blocked out too easily by tight ends and running backs.

— Prone to biting on action and misdirection in the backfield.

— Strength of opponent is a legitimate concern in a transitive sense, though the tape shows more than enough NFL potential.

Kneeland has a fabulous playing personality — if there’s a play anywhere near him, he’ll do everything he can to kill it with fire. There are a few points of precision to deal with when he gets to the NFL level, but he’s an ideal multi-gap disrupting prospect in the next phase of his career.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire