The following is an excerpt from Warren Sharp’s 2024 Football Preview book. In addition to Warren’s deep, detailed write-up on all 32 NFL teams, each chapter features page after page of full-color charts, stats, and heatmaps as well as draft class analysis from Ryan McCrystal. Click here for a full FREE chapter from the 2024 Football Preview.

With 2024 NFL training camps on the horizon, we’re starting to understand how 2024 NFL draft classes will impact each roster this season.

Let’s look at the Dallas Cowboys, breaking down the most likely instant-impact rookies from each class, while also providing some insight into why certain early picks may not see the field.

Who are the Dallas Cowboys rookies?

  • Tyler Guyton — OT — Round 1
  • Marshawn Kneeland — EDGE — Round 2
  • Cooper Beebe — OG — Round 3
  • Marist Liufau — LB — Round 3
  • Caelen Carson — CB — Round 5
  • Ryan Flournoy — WR — Round 6
  • Nathan Thomas — OT — Round 7
  • Justin Rogers — DT — Round 7

Dallas Cowboys Draft Class Grade:

The Dallas Cowboys received a C+ draft grade from Sharp Football.

Which Cowboys Rookies Will Make An Impact?

Dallas appeared to make its first selection out of desperation, snagging the last offensive tackle of Day 1 in Tyler Guyton (first round). The Cowboys needed a left tackle to replace Tyron Smith, but Guyton likely doesn’t offer much as a rookie. Guyton made just 14 career starts on the offensive line and only one at left tackle. 

Last year at Oklahoma, Guyton was in pass protection while the quarterback took a traditional dropback of three or more steps just 32% of the time. Dak Prescott’s traditional dropback rate last year was 60%. In fact, Guyton has less than half as many career reps protecting a traditional dropback (158) than Prescott took all of last season (393). 

Guyton may work out in the long run because his length and athleticism set a high ceiling, but it was a bizarre selection given Dallas’ public stance on attempting to build a contender for the 2024 season. 

Unlike Guyton, Cooper Beebe (third round) is ready to start right away and could earn a job at either guard or center. Beebe might be the favorite to land the starting job at center but could shift to guard if Guyton proves to be overwhelmed and Tyler Smith is forced to take on the left tackle role. Beebe’s power fit perfectly at Kansas State, and he played a key role in their run-game success. The Wildcats averaged 2.5 yards before contact when running to Beebe’s gap. 

Marshawn Kneeland (second round) has the length and testing numbers worth developing, but his lack of production as a fifth-year senior at Western Michigan is concerning. Kneeland ranked seventh in the MAC with a 14.7% pressure rate generated on the edge last year, not exactly the dominant performance you’d expect from a 22-year-old future pro against that level of competition.

Dallas was expected to add a linebacker in the draft, but Marist Liufau (third round) was a surprise selection. His 14% missed tackle rate and mediocre testing numbers made him look like a Day 3 developmental prospect at best. Due to the lack of talent at the position in Dallas, Liufau has a path to immediate playing time, but his performance at Notre Dame indicates he’s not ready for a significant role. 

Caelen Carson (fifth round) was a four-year starter in the Wake Forest secondary but missed 11 games over the last three seasons, which likely led to him sliding down the board. Carson generated a ball-hawk rate 72% above expected last year based on route-adjusted data. However, his aggressive tendencies backfired at times as he allowed 13 receptions on 18 catchable targets at 10 or more yards downfield including four touchdowns. 

Ryan Flournoy (sixth round) has the speed to stretch the field and huge hands, which indicate the potential to be a reliable pass catcher. He’ll turn 25 during his rookie year after spending six years in college at three different lower-division schools. Dallas is lacking depth at receiver, so Flournoy has a good chance to earn a spot on the roster and potentially carve out a role down the road. 

Nathan Thomas (seventh round) joins Guyton and Beebe on the offensive line and has the potential to be a valuable depth piece. Although he played left tackle in college and has the length to stay there, he also has the power needed to transition to guard.

Justin Rogers (seventh round) is a space-eating nose tackle, who could potentially stick as Mazi Smith’s backup. However, having two players to serve in that role is probably a waste of roster space given their limited snap counts.

How you view Dallas’ draft class probably depends on how far into the future you’re looking. Jerry Jones says they’re “all in” on winning in 2024, but it appears he forgot to tell his front office. Guyton and Beebe could be long-term stalwarts on the offensive line, and Kneeland has a chance to develop into a quality defender on the edge. But it’s unclear if anyone other than Beebe will contribute in a positive way in 2024. 

This analysis continues in the 2024 Football Preview

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Draft Class Analysis for All 32 Teams
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