Washington Redskins 2017 NFL Draft Target: Malik McDowell

The Washington Redskins own the 17th pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Do they fill a need with a pick for the defense or choose a luxury with a running back for the offense?

The Washington Redskins have started the long and difficult task of preparing for the 2017 season. The NFL Draft is one of the key areas they will use to improve their roster. They will work hard to figure out which college stars to target with their selections.

The Redskins hold the 17th overall pick in the first round this year. They could use help immediately in two phases of their defense. Improvement along the defensive line and at safety are of the highest priority. There will be many quality prospects available for the Redskins.

I feel General Manager Scot McCloughan, Head Coach Jay Gruden and their scouting staff should target defensive lineman Malik McDowell from Michigan State with their first round pick. He checks in at a massive 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds. He has much-needed versatility as he can play inside in a 4-3 or as a nose tackle in a 3-4 front. His greatest success came as a pass rushing end in either format which is something the Redskins are in need of.

McDowell could improve the strength in his lower body which would help if the Redskins put him inside. He has a very quick first step which could mean he would play outside on passing downs. His versatility is great to have for a team desperate for talent on their defensive front.

The only risk with McDowell is that he appears to take plays off on occasion. I think this could be corrected being around an NFL coaching staff as well as veterans like Ryan Kerrigan and Josh Norman.

The Redskins need to apply more pressure on opposing quarterbacks to help their linebackers and secondary.  Big and quick pass rushers are very hard to find. The freakishly athletic McDowell would be a huge help in improving the Redskins porous defensive unit.

There is no doubt that the Redskins would have interest in McDowell. He should be among their top targets with the No. 17 overall pick.

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