Malik McDowell was once an elite prospect but his career was derailed by injuries and off-field concerns. Now, he’s set to make his debut with the Cleveland Browns.
While playing at Michigan State, Malik McDowell was seen as a “can’t miss” prospect. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound defensive tackle had elite size, speed, power, and agility — but so far, he’s been an enigma.
Drafted 35th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, McDowell never made it to the active roster. He was held back by an injury suffered in an ATV accident before his first NFL camp and then had plenty of off-field issues as well.
McDowell has spent the past couple of years working to rehab his image with the goal of making it back to the league. Fast-forward to Aug. 22, 2021, and he’s finally set to play in an actual NFL game with the Cleveland Browns.
Yes, it’s preseason so it won’t officially count — and it also doesn’t guarantee that McDowell will make the Browns roster — but it is a huge step for a young man who could still have a long career ahead of him if he makes good on this opportunity.
At just 25-years of age, McDowell isn’t much older than some of the rookies fighting for a spot alongside him. But while his age won’t be a problem, the fact that it’s been more than four years since he’s stepped foot on the field for an actual game can be.
As for some added good news for McDowell, there’s a real shot he can make it to the roster in Cleveland. As we saw in their first preseason game, there were a lot of bodies thrown into the mix at defensive tackle but no one really stood out.
That won’t make it easy on McDowell, but he has a legit shot — especially if he impresses in his debut vs. the Giants.