(Editor's Note: With less than one month until the start of the 2017 NFL Draft on April 27, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.)
Name: Malik McDowell
Position: Defensive End/Tackle
College: Michigan State
Honors: An early draft entry as a junior, McDowell made All-Big Ten in his final two seasons at Michigan State and was named a second-team All-American by SI.com and CBS Sports.
Key Stat: Although his stats declined slightly across the board in 2016, McDowell was still a disruptive force on the Spartans' defensive line, producing 24.5 tackles for loss in 36 career games (23 starts).
Where He's Projected: Some draft observers believe McDowell will be selected by a team in the latter part of Round 1, though it's possible he slips into the second round.
How He Helps The Cowboys:Versatility. Michigan State moved McDowell all around their defensive line and he was productive at end and tackle. A little like David Irving, the Cowboys' third-year lineman, McDowell is an interesting prospect as a defensive end because he can win against tackles with his height (6-6) and arm reach. Outside draft observers have noted there were questions about consistency and attitude during his college tenure.
Scout's Take: Physically is as good looking as they come. Plays with initial quickness and this is surprising because at times he is in a narrow base. I was really how surprised at how well he moved playing in such a poor stance. Coaches will change at the next level without a doubt. When he is bad, he tends to play a little tall. When he plays with bend to his knees, he is a much better player. Impressive power to fight the double team or hold the point. Can really close for a big man. Impressive how he is able to work down the line to chase the ball. There is a burst and foot quickness. Can rush wide and close. Has some bend to his game when he rushes the passer. Natural in the way he bends. Athlete for a big man. Will extend his hands to control the blocker. Plays with power. There are snaps where he gets in personal battles with the blocker and lose track of the ball. Felt like he got in trouble during the Michigan game when this happened. Emotional player. Looks like he loses focus. Good body control and balance. Uses pass rush moves but tends to rely on his spin move far too much. Can play either inside or out. Can be difficult to block when on the move. Has a history of not always playing hard. Has struggled with injury in the past which might affected the way he played in 2016. Type of player that if selected could get a general manager an extension or get him fired.
- Bryan Broaddus