I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.)
Malcom Brown, DT, Texas - 6'2, 320 - Age 21
Now, let's dig into some defensive tackles this week. Leonard Williams last week is going to be the best DT if you call him that, but he is almost his own category where you would say he can play wherever you want. This week, we will grab the top several DTs who can join Tyrone Crawford inside and cause all sorts of issues in the middle and up front for the opposing offenses the Cowboys want to slow down.
Brown is a real talent and a fun guy to watch. He is that perfect combination of size and quickness for a big man that often gets the "dancing bear" label slapped on because he can really move in the trenches when he wishes to do so. However, he also can stand his ground and wait for a run to come to him. To study Brown, I watched the BYU, UCLA, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma games. But, really, I have had my eyes on big #90 all season.
What I liked: Anytime we dig into a player at this position, I am looking for his overall versatility. For instance, is he very good against the run at plugging or is he a penetrating player who is making plays behind the line of scrimmage? Is he a pass rusher or is he a roadblock? Well, if you are going to take a DT in Round 1, he better be able to do both, and I am confident that Brown is that type of guy. He appears to be the 3-technique, although Texas sure had its share of 3-4 (Oklahoma State) where he was almost the 5-technique. But, in his true spot, he is playing outside shoulder on a guard and he is more than a handful for anyone across from him. He stands, sheds, and makes the tackle on a regular basis. He 2-gaps the run, where he can wait, peek, and still swat the guard off to get to the ball carrier. But, his real value is that he is quick off the snap and through a gap with great quickness and lots of plays in the backfield. You absolutely have to love a player who is behind the line of scrimmage this much and although he can get better, the resume already is productive. He overpowers players with his bullrush and his strong swat, as well, and split a guard and tackle on a stunt against Oklahoma State that was very rare for a man of that size.
What I did not like: I wish I saw a bit more consistency from his tape in that there are weeks where he is not the unstoppable force, but to be fair, there were games where Texas' defense was being asked to take on a very high amount of leverage because the offense wasn't pulling its weight. Would love a bit more of a burst at times and maybe the most disconcerting thing on his tape is how many plays he could have made if he could just finish the play. You don't want to be too tough on him because he beat his man and got to the carrier, but then because of poor technique, the RB spins out of trouble for the moment. He made 21.5 plays behind the line of scrimmage, but I bet he left 10 more out there.
Summary: I think he is a tremendous talent who seems to really love the game and play hard regardless of the score (his work against BYU was impressive in the 4th Quarter, down 34-7). It would be interesting to see if he could play along side someone like Crawford for the Cowboys, or if the team thinks they are too redundant. Is he a 1-technique, and if so, does that lose his appeal if he is always locked down on double teams? I think he is the type of guy that you better plan on taking with your pick, because guys like him don't last too long. Rare traits, rare ability and one of the very best inside defenders in this draft.