A Spartan Among Men

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Malik McDowell is a special athlete. At 6-6 and 300 pounds, he has great size and length to fit into the Indianapolis Colts’ scheme at defensive end. The Colts do already have some great competition in the defensive line group. They already boast a signing of Johnathan Hankins, as well as Hassan Ridgeway and Henry Anderson both flashing some really great potential. They have Kendall Langford, who stepped up when tasked with a tough position. Needless to say, there is going to be some serious competition going on in the next couple of months for a starting job.

So, why would the Colts waste a pick on an already strong position group? Well, if the Colts are using the best player available strategy, it should not matter. Also, McDowell is worth it, if the film doesn’t lie.

In his tenure with the Spartans, McDowell racked up 88 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles, per Sports-Reference.com. When McDowell showed up for a game, he played lights out. The only real concern that teams have right now are McDowell’s questionable game motivation and motor. It seems like the defensive line is one of the only positions that consistently gets chastised for motivation and motor. Ridgeway was berated with the same accusations last year. The NFL typically has defensive line rotations, so it should not be that much of a concern for future prospects.


Where Does McDowell Succeed?

McDowell specializes at the point of attack with strong hands and quick feet. He can crash the pocket and terrorize opposing quarterbacks when motivated to do so. For analysts to say that McDowell has motor problems is simply lazy analysis. He shows up on film a lot. Here is an example of McDowell getting to the quarterback:



McDowell has a tool box full of pass-rush moves that he switches up as the game continues. He wins with explosiveness out of the box, to where he can not only push the pocket but also hold up against double teams. Here, McDowell not only handles the double team but also pushes the pocket to create some pressure:



Speaking of strength, here is McDowell plowing through a Notre Dame offensive guard:



Will McDowell Be There At No. 15?

McDowell is hard to project in this draft. Some analysts have him as a top talent, others see him as a second-round pick. With a comparable style to Arik Armstead and Ezekiel Ansah, McDowell should be getting more and more attention as the draft gets closer.

It is more than likely that McDowell will be there at pick 15. The Colts will have to spend some time weighing the pro’s and con’s of this defensive line stud when it is time to be on the clock. If he makes it to the top of the second round, then the Colts should also consider trading up. A similar situation occurred last year when Chris Ballard’s Kansas City Chiefs acquired Chris Jones out of Mississippi State.

First or second round, the Colts will add an elite, young talent if McDowell is called to dawn the ‘Shoe on his helmet come next season.



Nathan Deitz covers the Indianapolis Colts for Pro Football Spot. Follow ‘Indianapolis Colts on PFS’ on Twitter @spot_colts and Nathan @NathanDeitz.