Cowboys cap day two of NFL Draft with exciting Marist Liufau pick

Notre Dame v Stanford
Notre Dame v Stanford / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys have really done a nice job on day two of the NFL Draft. Their selection of Cooper Beebe at pick No. 73 will nab headlines, but second-rounder Marshawn Kneeland should make a notable impact as a rookie in Mike Zimmer's scheme.

When the time came for the Cowboys to make their final pick on day two, everyone presumed a running back would take the cake. It turns out Jerry Jones and Co. were bluffing because they settled on Notre Dame linebacker Marist Liufau.

Unlike their first three picks, all of which were seen as tremendous value, the Cowboys might have reached on Liufau. The Athletic's Dane Brugler had Liufau as a day three prospect, likely a fifth- or sixth-rounder.

What can't be argued is that Liufau fills a big need at linebacker. Beyond that, Liufau is an outstanding athlete. He's 6-2 and 235 pounds and ran a 4.60 40-yard dash. He's a bit undersized, but his frame will play just fine as an off-ball linebacker.

Cowboys select Notre Dame LB Maris Liufau with 87th pick in NFL Draft

Like Kneeland, the Liufau pick came as a surprise. However, he was a pre-draft 30 visit with the Cowboys so there was definitely interest leading up to the draft. Liufau could earn snaps on Zimmer's defense in year one, but he knows his reputation will be made on special teams, at least initially.

"I know it will be my ticket on the field as a rookie. That's one of my first goals to excel on special teams and earn the respect of the team and organization."

Cowboys fans will love hearing that.

Beyond special teams, Liufau could make an impact as a coverage specialist. He admitted to almost playing defensive back in college. On 442 coverage snaps since 2022, Liufau didn't allow a single touchdown, per Pro Football Focus. He's a high IQ player and plays with a bundle of energy and physicality.

It seems the Cowboys have targeted a type on both sides of the ball in this draft. Every player they've taken thus far -- from Guyton, Kneeland, Beebe and now Liufau -- has a distinct competitive edge that can't be taught and should bring toughness to a roster that lacked it on one too many occasions last season.

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