2. Malik McDowell
Like Weaver, Malik McDowell always had a chance to be a player for this team, but his chances increase with the uncertainty surrounding McKinley. McDowell could very well be the second-most-talented player on the entire roster, and could also be on his last NFL chance.
Despite being a former top prospect, McDowell has never played in an NFL game, preseason or otherwise. Injuries and legal issues have followed him ever since being drafted, and if the Browns don’t keep him, that doesn’t reflect very well on him for other teams, not many of whom have shown interest in McDowell.
Listed as a defensive tackle, McDowell lined up as an EDGE quite often in college, and showed the requisite burst and bend to succeed there. He was downright dominant at times inside, despite having minimal technical refinement. His ceiling was always off the charts, but his effort needed to be consistent.
Now, he has no choice but to give 100% on every play, because if he doesn’t, his football career may be over. He’ll likely play a high number of snaps in the preseason, and if he shows the same dominant flashes that he did at Michigan State, he could find himself as a key rotational member of both the defensive tackle and EDGE rooms.