Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Dallas Cowboys 2024 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Dallas Cowboys? What are they saying about the Cowboys' 2024 draft haul?

NFL.com - Grade: A-

Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: A-
Day 3 grade: B

Analysis: Gaining a third-round pick in a move down the board and still landing a starting tackle made for a successful Thursday night for Dallas. Kneeland and Beebe should prove to be excellent values, while Liufau will be a solid addition to the middle of the Cowboys' defense. The Notre Dame 'backer was picked a bit early for my taste, though.

In Round 5, Dallas added Carson, a versatile corner/safety who was considered a Day 2 prospect near the start of last season. Flournoy has the tools to make the squad his rookie year. The Cowboys did not take a running back with any of their eight picks, leaving a sizable hole on their roster they'll still need to fill this offseason. Dallas had four picks within the top 90 selections, but were without a fourth-rounder, having sent theirs to San Francisco last August for Trey Lance. That investment could work out quite well if the former No. 3 overall pick is able to find his game at the pro level.

ESPN - Grade: B-

Top needs entering the draft: Offensive line, running back, linebacker

The Cowboys have been hamstrung by their salary cap situation this offseason, resulting in the departures of starters at several key positions, including offensive linemen Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz, running back Tony Pollard and wide receiver Michael Gallup. They haven't really replaced any of those players; the only free agent addition they've made is linebacker Eric Kendricks. That made this draft extra important for Dallas, which absolutely had to take rookie starters in the first and second rounds. So how did team owner Jerry Jones & Co. fare?

Not bad. The Cowboys were able to trade down five spots in Round 1, pick up an extra third-rounder and still get their guy. Tyler Guyton (29) is going to get a chance to be their starter at left tackle, and from what I see on tape, I think he can make the move over from the right side. He has special ability as a pass-protector and can get to the second level in a hurry in the run game.

Defensive end Marshawn Kneeland (56) and guard Cooper Beebe (73) have the talent to step in and play significant snaps as rookies. Kneeland is excellent against the run and has developed pass-rush moves. Marist Liufau (87) was a reach on my board, but I know Dallas wants to be better against the run, and he'll help there. Caelen Carson (174) is an underrated cornerback who was a starter for four seasons at Wake Forest.

What keeps Dallas from a higher grade? Not taking a running back in place of Liufau, particularly with several really good ones available.

The Ringer - Grade: A-

THE COWBOYS ATE THEIR VEGETABLES IN THIS DRAFT, grabbing a trio of tough and physical trench players with their first three picks. Dallas added a highly athletic offensive tackle in the first round in Tyler Guyton, who's raw but moves exceptionally well and could emerge as their future blindside stalwart. I loved the Marshawn Kneeland pick; he's an explosive, long-levered pass rusher with great size and a solid repertoire of pass-rush moves and will complement Micah Parsons well on that defensive front. And Cooper Beebe is an ass-kicker of an interior lineman who moves people in the run game. Adding three tone-setting future starters is good work by Dallas.

USA Today - Grade: D

An organization that's allegedly "all in" uses its first-rounder on a tackle (Oklahoma's Tyler Guyton) with tremendous upside but who may or may not be ready to play immediately. And while Dallas needed help in the trenches (second-round DE Marshawn Kneeland, third-round G Cooper Beebe) and potentially filled a hole with third-round Notre Dame LB Marist Liufau, what's the plan at tailback? Run it back with Ezekiel Elliott? All ... in?

Fox Sports - Grade: B

For a team that had so many holes to fill after they did nothing in free agency, the Cowboys made some curious choices. They did a great job plugging two key holes on the O-line (Oklahoma LT Tyler Guyton in Round 1 and Kansas State C Cooper Beebe in Round 2). But no running back? No receiver until Round 6? Instead, in Round 2, they took Western Michigan edge rusher Marshawn Kneeland, who could be terrific in 2025, but might not be a huge help now, when they're supposedly "all-in." Notre Dame LB Marist Liufau felt like a big reach in the third at another position where they needed help. —Vacchiano

CBS Sports - Grade: B-

Best Pick: Third-round offensive lineman Cooper Beebe can play anywhere on the line, although I think he will be an inside player for Dallas. Beebe played tackle at Kansas State.

Worst Pick: I didn't love the pick of defensive lineman Marshawn Kneeland in the second. He's a power end who plays hard, but I think they had better options.

The Skinny: I thought the Cowboys had a solid draft. Trading down and adding an extra pick and taking tackle Tyler Guyton in the first was a hit. He will start as a rookie and has the tools to do so. They added some good football players the rest of the way, guys like Beebe and Wake Forest corner Caelen Carson (fifth). It wasn't splashy, but it was solid.

Sporting News - Grade: C

Analysis: The Cowboys settled for Guyton in the first round after some more plug-and-play blocking-ready players were taken ahead of him. He likely will need time to be groomed as Tyron Smith's replacement. Beebe has a better chance to start. Kneeland and Liufau fit their schemes, but they did reach a little for both.

SI - Grade: D+

Analysis: We discussed this on the MMQB podcast, but Dallas's continued insistence on behaving and drafting like a team that has already won something of consequence is puzzling. Guyton may have the highest upside of any tackle in this class, but owner Jerry Jones has to consider who benefits from a longer-term project when everyone on his staff is being held to the fire this year. There needs to be some thought put into Guyton's long-term development.

Touchdown Wire - Grade: B-

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! If your only experience with the Cowboys' thought process is Jerry Jones' weird pressers, you're sleeping on Dallas' scouting department, led by Will McClay, and you really shouldn't.

Guyton is one of my favorite pass-blocking tackles, though he'll need a few protein shakes and Metallica workouts to get up to speed in the run game. Marshawn Kneeland is one of my favorite prospects in this class; a ready-made quarterback disruptor who can win from every gap. Woe to the offensive linemen who have to deal with Kneeland and Micah Parsons on stunts this season.

Cooper Beebe is a phone-booth mauler who might kick inside from guard to center. I also really like Caelen Carson as a hyper-smart cornerback who will have the hang of the playbook as quickly as possible. Would I have appreciated more done at receiver outside of Ryan Flournoy? Absolutely, and the Cowboys dithering at receiver and running back remains a problem.

More: 2024 NFL Draft Grade Roundups