NFL Hot Press: Some Teams See Malik McDowell as a Top 10 Talent

Some Teams See Malik McDowell as a Top 10 Talent

Updated Oct. 6, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Going into the month of October, one wouldn’t think that a defensive lineman with a total of 13 tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and zero sacks would be receiving high first-round grades. However, that is what’s happening with Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell. In speaking with team sources, some franchises have McDowell as a high first-round talent andthink he will go in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft if he decides to declare. 

Teams believe the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder has a lot of upside to develop. They feel that he is a better athlete and twitchier than DeForest Buckner or Arik Armstead, top-16 picks for San Francisco out of Oregon in the past two drafts. Sources say they are really impressed with McDowell’s ability to bend and make the turn around the corner. They say he is hard to stop once he gets going with pass-rushing skills to go along with being good in the ground game. 

Numerous Michigan State products are said to be well developed entering the next level, but McDowell is said to need a lot of work on his technique. However, sources from multiple teams don’t hold that against McDowell and think he will get a lot better once he gets some development from NFL coaches.  

McDowell isn’t devoid of production. In 2015, he totaled 41 tackles with 13 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick-six on the year. He had defensive end Shilique Calhoun helping to draw blocking attention last year. For the NFL, sources say that McDowell would fit best as a 3-4 defensive end. Scouts say that McDowell is too gifted to slide in the first round and they think he is a high first round talent who will be selected quickly on Thursday night.