DL - Malik McDowell - Michigan State
6’6” - 280 Lbs. - Junior
Doesn’t give up on the play.
Great at block shedding.
Can line up anywhere on the defensive line.
Eats up blockers.
Does whatever it takes to get to the ball.
Good repetoire of pass rush moves.
Wins hand battles against the OL.
Elite speed for position.
I read about McDowell once, he had said that he wouldn’t leave for the NFL unless he was a projected top-three pick. I read about him again later on, and it said that when he made that statement he was moreso talking to himself than reporters, NFL teams or Michigan State personnel. This should mean that it comes as no surprise that he is entering the draft. While he may not go in the top three picks, he certainly finds himself as one of the top three most talented players in the draft.
McDowell was gifted with an elite body frame and was given freakish athletic ability to go with it. He makes plays that most people would deem impossible. (1/13) Recently I was watching Solomon Thomas who’s nearly equally impressive as McDowell, but not quite just as impressive. I couldn’t figure out what was holding Thomas back from being as impressive, so I watched some more tape on McDowell. Let me tell you, McDowell’s combinated of body frame and speed for his position is something that NFL scouts will covet. Thomas looks slow and average in comparison to McDowell (that’s not saying that Thomas is).
I’ve never seen a player playing with the same mindset as McDowell, he does whatever he can to get to the ball. During the Notre Dame game, I watched him cover three holes on the line to make a tackle at the line of scrimmage. That’s three offensive lineman, guard, center and guard, that he had to climb past and he still met the ball at the line of scrimmage. However, that play isn’t going to be in any coach’s gameplan. That means that he may not always be doing his assignment, something that commentators have called him out for over the year.
He’s a large, powerful defender that simply imposes his will on others. He can line up anywhere on the defensive line and get off of any blocker on the offensive line. He has a large arsenal of pass rush moves and and he has the speed to use them against anyone. It seems as if his mind is always in pass rush mode though, and he tends to leave open gaps for the offenses rushing game. He doesn’t sit and wait for the rusher to get to him, he tries to penetrate in the backfield, which is exactly what the offensive line wants in a lot of scenarios when rushing the ball.
It’s hard to predict where McDowell might go in the draft. He has all the talent in the world, but it’s said that he has a discipline issue and he’s definitely dealt with a few injuries throughout his college years. His talent says top three, but his complete body of work says top 15. When you look at him as a complete prospect, rather than just his on-field play, you start to see things that will be brought up as question marks. With good combine interviews, I could see McDowell fighting his way into the top 5. However, he’s said to be rather head strong which may not make for good combine interviews.
Draft Stock: Top 15