Michigan State Football: Malik McDowell has no one to blame but himself

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 3: Malik McDowell /

Malik McDowell was caught on police cam blaming his Michigan State football coaches for his lack of success in the NFL and draft slide.

The dash cam on a police cruiser can usually catch criminals doing wild things or even officers abusing their power but on rare occasions, it captures something truly head-scratching: a conversation between a police officer and a now-former NFL player.

Malik McDowell has had a few arrests since he graduated from Michigan State which has been a surprise to those who knew him well before his ATV accident.

Let’s rewind a bit. McDowell was selected in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks and his slide into the second round was a little surprising. He was once considered a top-10 lock but the lackluster performance and injuries during the 2016 season derailed all hope of being a first-round pick. He also had some poor draft interviews and just didn’t exhibit the fire or passion for the game.

Shortly after signing with the Seahawks, McDowell was involved in an offseason ATV accident that still, to this day, has people wondering if something more happened with his head injury. He hasn’t been the same person since and has gone off the deep end.

Besides getting into verbal altercations and even physical ones with police officers, he was caught on a police dash cam talking about his lack of success at the NFL level and draft slide.

Who did he blame? His college coaches at Michigan State, of course.

Why? Because that’s easier than blaming himself.

McDowell claimed he didn’t get along with Ron Burton because he didn’t produce many NFL players but that’s not entirely true. Burton took over in 2013 on the defensive line and sent guys like William Gholston, Marcus Rush, Lawrence Thomas, Joel Heath and Shilique Calhoun to the NFL. He’s one of the reasons Michigan State’s defensive line has been so dominant. But he’s the reason McDowell slid? Not so fast.

It was clear after his sophomore season and heading into junior year that McDowell’s attitude changed. He had some plays where you’d be left picking your jaw up off the floor, but more often than not, he disappeared. He felt that he was already a top pick so he didn’t need to do the work.

It’s fair, though. Michigan State was experiencing the worst season in Mark Dantonio’s tenure so he probably didn’t have much motivation left, but he wasn’t giving it his all to earn a top draft spot.

There are plenty of clips of McDowell getting bullied by opposing linemen during the 2016 season and his draft interviews were horrible, leading to that slide out of the first round. Is that the coaching staff’s fault? No.

While Malik probably never thought this private convo with a police officer would ever see the light of day, he now has to live with the fact that he looks like someone who can’t take responsibility for his own actions.

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Michigan State put him in a position to be drafted in the top 10 but he couldn’t finish his career on a high note and botched interviews. No one here is to blame but himself.