Even though he played nose tackle out of necessity at Michigan State, during rookie minicamp here this weekend, McDowell looks much more like a sleek defensive end than a big, immovable defensive tackle.
His weight is proportioned so well on his frame that he looks much closer to a 6-foot-4, 265-pound edge rusher than someone equipped to handle the heart of the trenches up front.
But despite his appearance being somewhat deceiving, McDowell looks to be every bit of what Seattle hoped they were getting in selecting him with their first selection of the draft two weeks ago.
"Instantly, almost, you could see how comfortable he is with his movements, his body control and stuff," head coach Pete Carroll said following the conclusion of the team's first rookie mini-camp practice on Friday.
"He's got an awareness already how to use his hands that I'm surprised to see with that background technically. They did a really nice job with him at Michigan State, so he got off to a really nice start and he looks great."
McDowell is expected to contribute both at tackle and end for the Seahawks. However, his nose tackle days are in the past.
"We'll play him a little more at defensive end," Carroll said. "He played inside a lot. He was over the center a lot and he doesn't look like that kind of player in our system to us.
"We'll play him at five-technique (end) and three-technique (tackle) and see how that goes. Really would like to see how he works as an inside rusher in nickel and see if he can add something special for us there."
Seahawks general manager John Schneider had said McDowell was "too unique" a player to pass up on when they made him the 35th overall pick in the draft.
McDowell filled a need Schneider said the team has been seeking for quite a while.
"We've been looking for a pass rushing 3-technique since we've been here together," Schneider said after making the selection.
It didn't take long for McDowell's traits to show up on the practice field. At one point during the practice, McDowell blew by sixth-round pick Justin Senior at left tackle for a would-be sack of tryout quarterback Michael Birdsong.
While McDowell did occasionally rush from the end position with the Spartans, it's something he's going to do far more frequently in Seattle.
"I'm playing a whole different position," McDowell said. " ... Moving outside and going from taking double teams to taking single blocks here mostly.
"I like it."
In other news:
Longtime Seahawks scout Ed Dodds is leaving the team to take a position as Vice President of Player Personnel with the Indianapolis Colts.
Dodds spent the last 10 years as a scout with Seattle and was promoted to Senior Personnel Executive with the team in 2015.
"I think it's a great recognition by their organization of a terrific, upcoming guy," head coach Pete Carroll said. "He's really a good talent.
"They have a close background and relationship with guys in the organization that goes back a long ways and I'm happy for Ed. We don't like losing him, but he's really talented and he's a guy that's going to be a G.M. in this league someday."
After joining the franchise in 2007 as a member of the Seahawks' pro personnel department, Dodds moved to college scouting and spent the next eight years developing into one of Seattle's top evaluators.