By now, every individual who loves this time of year has heard the knocks on Malik McDowell. He’s lazy sometimes, doesn’t finish plays, will flat-out take plays off and quite honestly doesn’t always look like he loves being on the field like he should.
Well, then there’s the other side of the coin, and it’s amazing. When this young man is firing on all cylinders it’s a great thing to see. His talent level is high and his potential even higher if a coaching staff can tap into his youthful ebbs and flows.
Atlanta had great success with guys like Deion Jones and Keanu Neal in 2016 and those two specifically along with guys like Vic Beasley helped take them to the Super Bowl.
Of course, their elite offense had a little to do with it as well.
Securing the middle of their defensive line is key to making a return to the big game, and McDowell could be the missing piece they’re looking for. His other young teammates should be able to keep him motivated and the coaching staff has demonstrated they know how to tap into young underrated talent. Plus, a few million dollars is quite the motivator. If he can bring himself to giving maximum effort at the NFL level then this kid could be something special. If not, well, there’s always 2018 right?
He’s a gamble. No doubt about it. If he won’t play hard for a team which could get him a ring in his first season, he won’t play hard for anybody. This would be bad news for the Falcons, but they have the best shot at drafting him in the first round and getting top pick talent out of him.