Malik McDowell has the talent to be one of the best young defensive linemen in pro football. Michigan State fans know this.
Spartans fans also know McDowell is subject to questions about his character.
The defensive tackle from Michigan State is expected by most analysts to go late in the first round of this week’s NFL draft. But that’s not because McDowell doesn’t possess top-10 talent. In fact, one anonymous AFC executive told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that McDowell would go much earlier if it weren’t for issues surrounding his work ethic.
“Taking character out of the equation, McDowell should be the second pick in the draft,” an executive in personnel for an AFC team said. “If anybody tells you differently, they’re playing possum.”
McDowell, who opted to go pro rather than return to Michigan State for his senior season, is ranked by CBS Sports as the No. 24 prospect in this year’s draft class, and the No. 2 defensive tackle.
At 6-foot-6, 276 pounds, McDowell had 1.5 sacks and 34 tackles in nine games during the 2016 season.