NFL Draft Scouting Report: Malik McDowell

Michigan State
Defensive Tackle #4
Junior, 6’6″ 276

  • Run stopper
  • Does not get blown off ball
  • Pass rush needs improvement
  • Can split double team
  • Quick feet
  • Good closing speed
  • Stiff
  • Balanced

Malik McDowell was a highly recruited 4 star recruit from just outside of Detroit in Southfield, Michigan. With offers from Big Ten schools Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan as well as other national powers such as Alabama and Notre Dame, McDowell chose to play for the Spartans of Michigan State. McDowell made an immediate impact for the Spartans as he saw action in all 13 games his freshman year recording 1.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. His sophomore campaign saw an increase in the stat line as he tripled his sack total and recorded 4.5 sacks and almost tripled his tackles for loss from the season prior by tallying 13 tackles for loss on the year while also intercepting a pass.

His junior year he missed action due to a suspension and injuries but still managed to lead the team in tackles for loss with 7 on the year while also getting to the quarterback 1.5 times. He was rewarded with a Second Team All-American bid as well as a spot on First Team All-Big Ten team. McDowell played inside at defensive tackle as well as outside at defensive end for Michigan State this year. His run stopping ability is his strongest asset as he possesses the power to shed guards and close in on the running back with his speed and engulf them with his large frame and rarely do running backs escape his grasp once he grabs on. His pass rushing can be improved as he can be stiff at times and has a hard time adjusting to quarterbacks scrambling around.

McDowell has the strength to split a double team consistently and fires off the ball which makes it extremely difficult for offensive lineman to push the big man off of the line of scrimmage. He can string plays out and force plays to the sideline if he has to. With his reach he can cause runners to bounce outside or back inside where he has help coming.

McDowell fits the mold of a 4-3 defensive tackle but playing a 3-4 defensive end may be where he is best utilized with his very solid run stopping ability and his length. He needs to work on utilizing other skills besides bull rushing as constantly trying to power through an offensive line will not always work on Sundays so with some coaching and help from veteran defensive lineman he can add to his repertoire.

NFL Comparison: DeForest Buckner

McDowell and Buckner both have very large frames with great length and reach. Both players utilize their strength and power to disrupt the run game while they both can show flashes of greatness during a pass rush. Buckner weighed more coming out of college than McDowell does so McDowell will need to add some weight this offseason in order to make an immediate impact at the same level of Buckner.

Round Value: 1

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