Cowboys shock NFL Draft by picking perfect Mike Zimmer DL

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The Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones seemingly planted a masterful smokescreen by hyping up Texas running back Jonathon Brooks. Widely expected to draft Brooks in round two, the Cowboys baited the Panthers into giving up three draft picks to move up and take Brooks.

The Cowboys reportedly gave serious consideration to trading out of pick No. 56, but they held strong and took Western Michigan defensive lineman Marshawn Kneeland.

It's a surprising pick given linebackers Junior Colson and Payton Wilson were still on the board, but Kneeland fits a huge need after Dallas lost a trio of defensive linemen in free agency, including Dorance Armstrong, Johnathan Hankins and Dante Fowler.

Kneeland needs to develop as a pass-rusher but his violent style of play and appetite to stop the run make him a perfect fit for new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Cowboys shock NFL Draft with Marshawn Kneeland pick in second round

Kneeland is definitely an unknown compared to other day two prospects, but he was 42nd on the consensus board. To get Kneeland 56th overall is tremendous value, but beyond that the former Bronco is a fantastic fit with Zimmer, who loves versatile DL who can stop the run.

If any fans need a reason to feel better about the pick, Kneeland is one of Dane Brugler's draft crushes. Brugler is one of the most respected draft experts in the industry. Here's what he had to say about Kneeland.

"Kneeland is still taking classes in the art of the pass rush, but he is charged up into contact and displays twitch throughout his frame, which allows him to defeat blockers in different ways. He projects as a starting base end whose best football is yet to come."

Last season, Kneeland ranked above the 90th percentile in run stop percentage and run defense, according to Pro Football Focus. In a vacuum, Kneeland will improve Dallas' defense on early downs and create more pass-rushing lanes for Micah Parsons and others.

It might be a lofty comparison, but Kneeland could slot in as DeMarcus Lawrence's successor as Dallas' do-it-all defensive lineman. Remember, Lawrence is in a contract year entering his age-32 season. This pick was definitely out of left field, but that doesn't make it a bad one.

At the end of the day, there's something to be said that the Cowboys continue to throw big resources at premium positions. Linebacker might be a bigger need, but games are won and lost in the trenches.

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