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Redskins draft countdown: Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell

Redskins draft countdown: Michigan State defensive lineman Malik McDowell

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 63 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

Malik McDowell
Defensive line
Michigan State

Height: 6-6
Weight: 276
40-yard dash: TBD

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Slippery and long. Combination of arm length and flexible torso allow him to slither into gaps and create disruptions for blockers. Freaky combination of size and athleticism. Can overwhelm blockers with pure strength and explosiveness when his feet are right. Strong enough in lower half to play through contact and cause stress in the pocket. Has tremendous amount of untapped potential waiting to be unlocked.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: If you’re reading this, you know that the 2016 Redskins’ defensive line was manned by one pretty good player in Chris Baker and a cast of journeymen and youngsters with some potential but little immediate production. They need to add at least one top-flight D-lineman in the draft and McDowell could be the guy.

If you are spending a top draft pick on a D-lineman you want one who can be an asset against the run and be able to rush the passer. McDowell’s profile fits that job description. He could defend the run as an end in the base 3-4 defense and kick inside to provide pass rush up the middle in nickel situations.

McDowell is generally rated behind Jonathan Allen of Alabama and Caleb Brantley of Florida among interior defensive line prospects. Allen and Brantley are likely to be gone by the time the Redskins pick at No. 17 but McDowell should be there as an option.

MORE REDSKINS: Will Chris Baker be back in 2017?

Potential issues: His production was inconsistent and his technique needs a lot of work. The fact of the matter is, I can probably copy and paste that sentence into the write up of virtually any defensive lineman in the draft. The college linemen who are NFL prospects are generally just bigger and stronger than the players trying to block him.

A look of some plays in the Spartans’ game against Notre Dame shows McDowell’s inconsistency. At times, he can’t disengage from a single blocker and a few plays later he was able skirt around three blockers and make a tackle for a loss. He also was good at getting push upfield when he rushed the passer but too often the pressure was not in the direction of the quarterback.

McDowell also had some issues with major penalties. He drew an unsportsmanlike conduct flag in the Notre Dame game, although the film didn’t show what he did to earn it. Later in the year he was tossed from a game against Indiana, a game his team lost in overtime. Since the ejection came in the second half, he had to sit out the first half of Michigan State’s next game.  

Bottom line: Interviews with his coaches, MSU weight room staff, etc., will be keys in the evaluation of McDowell. If the Redskins try to teach him the proper fundamentals of line play will he absorb it? Will consistency come with maturity (he will be 20 on draft day)?

It seems like a good fit as if McDowell is believed to be coachable he may be the best player available at No. 17 and even if the Redskins manage to retain Chris Baker and sign another veteran or two the position will need an infusion of youth. We will see if it works out

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

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If the Redskins go with a new name, quarterback Dwayne Haskins has a favorite

If the Redskins go with a new name, quarterback Dwayne Haskins has a favorite

As the Redskins name-change debate continues to gain steam, people everywhere are weighing in on potential options for a switch.

Scanning social media, the leaders in the clubhouse seem to be the Washington Warriors, Redtails and Redhawks.

At least one of those names has the blessing of a player fans hope will eventually become the face of the franchise.

RELATED ARTICLE: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF FAN-GENERATED POTENTIAL NAME CHANGES

With several former Ohio State players on the team -- Dwayne Haskins, Chase Young, Terry McLaurin -- Bleacher Report's Matt Miller tossed around the idea of changing the Redskins to the Buckeyes. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins responded saying he liked the Redtails.

The Redtails were a group of Tuskegee airmen, all-black fighter pilots during World War II.

Haskins said "that's if we have to change the name," making clear he isn't taking a stance on whether the team should change the name.

Reports have suggested a name change is likely before the 2020 season begins.

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Report: Globetrotters willing to sell Washington Generals name to Redskins

Report: Globetrotters willing to sell Washington Generals name to Redskins

As the Washington football team mulls over the increasingly likely decision to change its name from the Redskins, the parent company of the Harlem Globetrotters suggested Friday that it'd be interested in giving the team another option.

According to Action Network's Darren Rovell, a spokesman for Herschend Entertainment said the company would "love" for the Redskins or NFL to call about buying the rights to the Washington Generals name.

RELATED ARTICLE: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF FAN-GENERATED POTENTIAL NAME CHANGES

The Generals are the frequent opponent of the Globetrotters, almost always on the losing end of the fun basketball competition. Herschend Entertainment owns trademarks for both the Generals and Globetrotters.

“We think that the Globetrotters are right up there as the most liked team in the world with Manchester United and the New York Yankees,” Brett Meister, the spokesman, said. “Our heritage includes the Washington Generals.”

The Generals also have other local ties, as the team's former owner/coach/player Red Klotz was a member of the 1948 title-winning Baltimore Bullets.

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