Malik McDowell is considered one of the top defensive linemen in the country. Listed at 6'7 and weighing in at 290 pounds, McDowell attends Southfield (Mich.) High School and hails from Detroit.
Most recruiting services list McDowell as a strongside defensive end, but ESPN has him listed as a defensive tackle at the next level. He is a consensus four-star recruit across all four major recruiting services. 247Sports rates him as the third-best strong-side defensive end in the class, Rivals has him fourth in their strong-side defensive end rankings, ESPN has McDowell as their fourth-best defensive tackle and Scout lists him as the seventh-best defensive end in the country. The 247Sports composite rates him as a four-star, considering him the 36th-best player in the country, the third-best strong-side defensive end and the top player in the state of Michigan.
The highly recruited prospect holds offers from Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State and Stanford, among others.
McDowell can be found on Twitter at @D1_LEEK.
Derrell Warren, West Coast Recruiting Analyst: There is no other way to put it -- McDowell is quite literally a huge recruit. Currently listed at 6’7 290 pounds, McDowell has tremendous growth potential considering his upper body is not quite as developed as his lower half and thus can add bulk after a bit of reshaping.
Going over tape of McDowell’s final two high school seasons; his snap anticipation is improved, however it's still inconsistent. That said, his burst through the neutral zone is very impressive for a player of his size.
Lined up at defensive tackle, McDowell has a really good quick swim move to the inside. You see him use that several times to penetrate the backfield and bring down ball carriers running into the opposite A-gap. He has a huge trunk area but has room up top to add good weight, and actually has a body type more similar to that of a left tackle.
At this stage, McDowell is more of a waist bender. He plays way too high out of his stance and doesn’t shoot his hands out to protect his frame as often as you’d like. These are coachable points, however. Once he starts playing with a lower center of gravity, his natural girth and lower body strength will better allow him to anchor versus the run.
On tape, McDowell is more disruptive operating on the interior than he is at defensive end. There he displays good vision and tracks the ball well, often times making plays well out of his playing area. This is also a testament to his motor. He spends lot of snaps lined up either as a one tech shade nose guard or a two technique defensive tackle.
Out on the edge, McDowell has obvious natural power. However, it's questionable as to whether he has the hips to pivot around the edge, the body lean and the explosiveness to be an effective pass rusher lined up that many body lengths away from the ball.
Ultimately, McDowell is a recruit with plenty of size and traits that translate well to the next level. He’ll need to have some of the technical flaws coached out of his game, but when that happens, he figures to develop into an exceptional performer. His highest defensive projection is likely as an interior lineman. However, his ceiling might be highest as an offensive tackle.