One of the most intriguing players to watch from the Big Ten in the 2017 NFL Draft is Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell.
It was a disappointing junior season for McDowell, but he has plenty of potential to succeed in the NFL.
“With Malik McDowell, it depends on how you classify him, if he’s going to play inside or outside from Michigan State,” ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay said Wednesday. “He’s tall, long. I think he might be the most talented interior defensive lineman. Some questions about the work ethic and consistency. From a skills standpoint, I think he can become a highly disruptive player.”
McShay released his Mock Draft 3.0 on Wednesday morning for the 2017 NFL Draft. It has six Big Ten players in the first round but only two in the top 22 selections.
McDowell is at No. 26 (Seahawks). McDowell is one of the wild cards from the conference, and there were questions about his off-field performance at the NFL combine.
“He probably could come off the board in the 10-25 range,” McShay said.
Ohio State defensive backs Marshon Lattimore (Jets) and Malik Hooker (Chargers) are at Nos. 6 and 7. A third Buckeyes defensive back, Gareon Conley, checks in at No. 29 (Packers).
Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk is 23rd (Giants).
That means there is only one other Big Ten player in McShay’s mock draft, and it’s not Michigan do-it-all star Jabrill Peppers. It is his teammate, defensive end Taco Charlton, who is at No. 28 (Cowboys).
McShay explained why he sees Peppers as more of a second-round prospect.
The 2017 NFL Draft is April 27-29 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Cleveland Browns have the No. 1 pick, which is projected by most experts to be Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.
Other Big Ten players who could be selected in the first round besides Peppers include Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt and Indiana guard Dan Feeney, who is projected as the No. 37 pick (Rams) in the most recent mock draft at WalterFootball.com.