Just a couple of quick notes today on a couple of defensive linemen…
Takk McKinley notes
Lance Zierlein has the Seahawks taking McKinley at #26 in his latest mock today. There’s a growing sentiment Seattle might go D-line with their first pick. It’s certainly true there’s a huge drop off in D-line talent after the top prospects leave the board. It’s a really deep corner and safety class.
If the Seahawks were after an EDGE, McKinley would be a terrific shout. His backstory and character are off the charts. Watch this video and tell me you won’t root for this guy whatever team he lands with. Yesterday we talked about Malik McDowell not fitting the ‘Seahawky’ profile. McKinley is the complete opposite. He’s grit personified.
He’s a 1.60 runner over 10-yards, his motor is relentless and never stops. He wins with a fantastic get-off but also has the power and thick base to bull-rush and overwhelm weaker tackles. He’s highly explosive, scoring a 3.39 in TEF. He has some technical flaws (needs to learn how to use his hands) and that could set him back early in his career. The upside 2-3 years down the line is very positive.
Here’s the thing though — I’m not convinced the Seahawks are after an EDGE. It seems for a while now they’ve been after another inside/out rusher. They’ve never really had that prolific interior rusher. The meeting with McDowell is indicative of their desire to find that type of player.
The problem is, that type of player is so rare.
McKinley was 250lbs at the combine and looked maxed out. He’s a thick, stout 250lbs. It’s difficult to imagine how he’s going to get another 15lbs onto his frame, let alone another 25-30. He’s an EDGE. And finding a fourth EDGE rusher isn’t anywhere near as much of a priority as finding an interior presence or some depth in the secondary.
Still, he’s very Seahawky in terms of character and motor.
Malik McDowell notes
I went back today and watched three perceived ‘positive’ games for McDowell (Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Indiana) following his visit to Seattle.
Certainly you see flashes of real talent. A one-armed bull rush to collapse the pocket, supreme agility to work the EDGE at 295lbs, the quickness and power combining to disrupt the interior (just what Seattle needs really).
The thing is, he doesn’t seem to make many plays (and the stat line backs that up — 1.5 sacks, seven TFL’s in 2016).
He’s reckless. He’s too manic, too out of control. His gap discipline as a consequence is all over the place and too often he’ll put his head down and rush and have zero impact.
A good example came against Wisconsin. He attacked the edge at 100mph and Ryan Ramcyzk just nudged him to the floor, using his own momentum against him. The Wisconsin running back rolled him on to his belly and it was over. Ugly and slightly embarrassing.
There are plenty of occasions where he goes for the club/swim working inside and attacks the wrong gap, leaving a nice running lane on the opposite side. His EDGE rush is quite predictable (club/swipe every time) and easy to adjust to.
And then you see the flashes. He’ll break into the backfield and look like DeForest Buckner at his best. He’ll rush the edge and chase down the QB for a sack. He’ll absorb blocks to allow a blitzing linebacker to get home.
There’s potential here for sure. Yet his off-putting character, slouchy mentality to the end of the season and reckless play show he’s a big project with major boom or bust potential.
If the Seahawks are seriously considering him it’s surely either after trading down from #26 or if they choose to try and move up from #58. It’s much easier to imagine Seattle taking a chance on him in round two where the stakes aren’t as high.
The team to get ahead of in round two could be Minnesota at #48. He’s a Mike Zimmer type of D-liner. And that might be his best fit in all honesty. Zimmer coaches hard and he’s used to dealing with this type of character.
Even so, it wouldn’t be the most shocking scenario if Seattle drafted both players they met with yesterday (Obi Melifonwu, Malik McDowell) with their first two picks.