It seems insane to think, but Tyler Nickel broke it down well last week. The Arizona Cardinals have nothing invested in their defensive line.
Their calling card for the Bruce Arians era on defense has been their ability to stop the run.
Now, they have to do so without Calais Campbell, with Robert Nkemdiche playing less than 100 snaps in his career, with Rodney Gunter’s snap count going down from 413 as a rookie to 243 in his sophomore season.
While getting a veteran who can compliment the youth would have been nice, maybe the Cardinals had their eye on another young player to add and bolster that front line.
Malik McDowell was looked at coming into the 2016 college football season as maybe the second best player, behind only Myles Garrett.
He was a dominant force as a sophomore and the needle was pointing firmly up.
McDowell had a quiet 2016, comparatively speaking, but much of that coincided with the Spartans descent from the College Football Playoffs to an also ran in the B1G.
What McDowell offers is something that no on e else in the draft has right now, a dynamic combination of length and explosive playmaking ability that can win inside or from the edge.
His 6-6 276lbs frame was asked to lineup at nose tackle in the Michigan State defense far too often, negating some of the athletic things that McDowell can do.
That’s why, despite it seeming like a longshot, I could see the Arizona Cardinals falling for a player with the versatility, and film of someone who has won all over the defensive line.
It would revitalize the unit and give the Cardinals a three man front of Nkemdiche/Gunter/McDowell for the next couple of seasons.
Of course, there are bigger fish to fry, but if we are talking purely best player available, McDowell is one to know.