With the draft coming up at the end of the month, we will offer up a breakdown of players at positions of need for the Dallas Cowboys.
Texas defensive tackle Malcolm Brown
Height: 6-2 3/8 Weight: 319
ESPN Insider rank: No. 2 defensive tackle, No. 13 overall
Games viewed: Oklahoma, Arkansas, BYU.
Scouting report: A little bit like Washington cornerback Marcus Peters, I wanted to be blown away by Brown considering the reviews I’ve seen and the accolades he has received. But like Peters, I was left wanting more.
What I liked best was his work late against BYU. The game was over, but he was still active. He didn’t tank and quit. He had two sacks, forcing a fumble on one when the game was largely over. So to me that shows he has some personal pride. He is strong. He can withstand the initial punch from a lineman and deliver a blow back. He was able to take the hit of a guard on a running play, disengage and make the tackle for no gain.
At times, however, he was sloppy with his technique and was too easily turned in the hole. He will rely on his power too much at times instead of using technique. That was evident against Oklahoma. He wouldn’t stay low to absorb the double team and was easily brushed aside.
I thought he got gassed against Oklahoma and was unable to make plays down the stretch after Texas closed to within one score. The Longhorns had him play as a stand-up defensive end at times, but I’m not quite sure why. He doesn’t have the speed off the edge and he wasn’t able to use his strength. He just didn’t look comfortable doing it.
He can slip through the guard and center crease for some pass rush with some pretty good feet. He did a nice job against Arkansas of fending off a chop block with his hands to make sure he stayed on his feet. But overall in that game I thought he was on the ground too much.
Biggest concern: Is he just a tease? He looks the part. He has all the tools you want in a defensive tackle. He can play both tackle spots. But there was just something missing. In the three games I saw, he just didn’t produce the way you would want a player with that kind of grade to produce. While he was able to put up some sack numbers, I don’t know if he is a disruptive pass-rusher.
What ESPN Insider says about his work against the run: Stout run defender. Has mass, strength and center of gravity to consistently anchor one-on-one. Shows ability to recover from initial movement versus double team, but needs to be more consistent in this area. Much-improved hands and upper-body power. Gets hands inside, locates ball and quickly disengages to pursue. Needs to be more consistent keeping shoulders square to line of scrimmage.
Cowboys fit: I don’t see the fit. It’s not that he can’t play; it’s just that the Cowboys are not a team willing to invest a lot in a nose tackle in the draft. They don’t need it. Because he does not have great pass-rushing skills, in my view, he would not be a 3-technique either. The Cowboys seem happy to go with guys like Nick Hayden, Ken Bishop and Josh Brent to plug the middle and their run defense has not been shoddy by any stretch.