Malik McDowell is one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft. There is no doubt he is a freak athlete. He has all the tools needed to be a Pro Bowl defensive lineman, but consistency as well as character concerns seem to be the issue with McDowell.
The Dolphins need a defensive lineman in this draft. Whether it is a defensive end or a defensive tackle, the Dolphins need to address the position, and McDowell just might be the guy for that. He is versatile enough to play the defensive tackle position as well as rotating in reps at defensive end in a 4-3 defense.
McDowell is one of the more freakishly athletic prospects in the draft. For being 6’6, 295 lbs, McDowell is extremely agile.
On this play, McDowell portrays tremendous agility and athleticism to avoid multiple offensive linemen, cleanly getting into the backfield to make a tackle for a loss.
Here, he lines up at defensive end, displaying quick twitch ability to weave in and out around the right tackle for a QB hit.
Outside of tremendous agility and athleticism, McDowell has violent hands, constantly using them along with great strength to get around offensive linemen for impact plays. Here are a few examples of his violent hand use.
Combining agility, quickness, and overall athleticism, McDowell has an advantage in the trenches with a very good first step.
On this play, McDowell’s first step allows him to shoot the gap between the center and right guard, getting into the backfield with ease.
Here, McDowell lines up at end and explodes off the snap to avoid the center’s cut block for the QB pressure.
McDowell’s versatility allows him to move from defensive tackle to defensive end in which he has shown to be successful in defensive line stunts. Here are a couple examples.
McDowell has shown great success in rushing the passer, whether it is using his violent hands, dominating with strength, or even simply beating the lineman with tremendous agility and athleticism, he can get the job done. Where McDowell struggles is his consistency with maintaining leverage in the run game.
McDowell’s issue is playing high too often, but when he plays low and keeps technique, he has shown success. Here are a few examples of him playing low, displaying great leverage, and making a play on the ball.
Against a double team.
McDowell’s bad plays can be, well, pretty bad.
McDowell has an issue of finding himself on the ground too often, whether it is from a double team or just bad technique. Plays like the one below take him entirely out of some plays, as he gets pushed to the ground easily by the left tackle.
As mentioned before, McDowell’s main issues in run defense is his approach. Here are a few examples of him playing too high, getting pushed out of the play, creating open run lanes.
McDowell can find himself getting turned when leading with his shoulder.
On this play, McDowell bull rushes the right guard with one hand to the ground, displaying brutal strength for the QB pressure.
Here, McDowell showcases his freakish athleticism, where he is able to dip his shoulder, bend around the edge and eventually get the sack. A 6’6 defensive tackle lining up at end with the ability to bend like that is something special.
This film review was done by Hagop Taraksian. Follow him on Twitter: @HagopTaraksian
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