Brock Huard’s Most Intriguing Seahawks Players: Rookie Malik McDowell
Malik McDowell was the key for general manager John Schneider in the Seahawks’ 2017 draft. Schneider targeted the defensive lineman as the team’s first pick. Before selecting him at No. 35 overall, Schneider made bold moves to trade down three times and acquire more picks to fill out what was considered one of his best drafts. In the eyes of Seahawks scouts, McDowell has the talent of a high-first-round pick. His inconsistent work ethic in college may have dropped his stock, but so far the Seahawks like what they see. McDowell is 6-6, 299 pounds and is expected to add 15 to 20 pounds in his first couple of years in the league. Looking for a comparable player in the NFL, you immediately point to Calais Campbell, the former Cardinal who just got $15 million a year from Jacksonville. McDowell has the ability to help Seattle’s defense in a couple of ways. He’s big enough to play defensive end and help as a run-stopper. The Seahawks’ defense hasn’t had a talent with that size to fill that role since Red Bryant. What also intrigues the Seahawks is his ability to move and provide an interior pass rush. Since Clinton McDonald left in free agency after the 2013 season, the Seahawks have been looking for an inside pass rush in nickel to work next to Michael Bennett, who moves to the interior of the defensive line on passing downs. If McDowell can record five or six sacks as a rookie, the Seahawks should be able to get more than 50 sacks this season. The Seahawks have three established pass rushers in Bennett, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark. With all three having the ability to put up 10-sack seasons, McDowell will draw plenty of one-on-one pass-rush opportunities.
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