Cowboys add run-stuffing behemoth in Justin Rogers: Instant grade and analysis

Feb 29, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Auburn defensive lineman Justin Rogers (DL23) works out during
Feb 29, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Auburn defensive lineman Justin Rogers (DL23) works out during / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys put a bow on the 2024 NFL Draft in style. Once again presented with the conundrum of taking a running back, the Cowboys decided it was more diligent to beef up the trenches and selected Auburn nose tackle Justin Rogers with the No. 244 pick in the seventh round.

Rogers spent three years at Kentucky before staying in the SEC and transferring to Auburn. Rogers found most of his success in Lexington, compiling 61 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks. In his lone season a Auburn, he tallied 17 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack.

Rogers made a name for himself as a run-stuffer with the Wildcats. It'd be foolish to set high expectations for a seventh-round pick, but nose tackle was a sneaky-big need for the Cowboys entering the draft.

They waited until the seventh-round to address it, but Rogers will bring competition behind 2023 first-round pick Mazi Smith and veteran Carl Davis.

Cowboys NFL Draft grade for Justin Rogers selection: B-

There's actually nothing more Rogers loves than stopping the run.

"I love defending the run," Rogers told the Draft Network before the draft. "I was taught to never let anybody run up the middle. I protect the middle of the d-line like that’s my house. I don’t want anybody coming into my house! I love stopping the run."

That quote will resonate with Mike Zimmer, who was brought over as defensive coordinator to rectify Dallas' run-defense woes.

At 6-3 and 330 pounds, Rogers will clog drains against the run. The former Tiger might not have the desired length to take on double teams, but he has plenty of power and raw strength to overwhelm single block assigments. Because of the sheer lack of 1-tech tackles on the roster, it wouldn't surprise at all if Rogers is not only in the mix for a roster spot, but ends up making the team.

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