Where Malik McDowell jersey in China

The question marks about Malik McDowell heading into the NFL Draft were well documented.

But McDowell’s new coach thinks he has the plan to get the most out of the talented former Michigan State defensive lineman.

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In a radio interview on ESPN 710 in Seattle on Thursday, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that McDowell has “tremendous upside” if he’s healthy and played in the right spot. The Seahawks picked McDowell in the second round of last week’s NFL Draft.

Carroll disclosed that McDowell entered the 2016 season at Michigan State with a high ankle sprain, a fact that previously undisclosed. McDowell missed the last three games of the season with ankle injury, and after the season cited injuries to his ribs and shoulders. But Carroll said a bum ankle from the start of the season held McDowell back significantly.

“He came into the season with a high ankle sprain, which as we know almost debilitates, but he kept playing and kept battling,” Carroll said. “We see the whole body of evaluation of being one that tells us the story that we have a great guy here potentially.”

Carroll also thinks McDowell’s impact can be maximized by putting him in a better position than the nose tackle spot he primarily played at Michigan State.

“He’s played a lot of nose tackle, which totally diminishes his ability, and that’s just the way they had to play him,” Carroll said.

The 6-foot-6, 276-pound McDowell will play five technique with the Seahawks, Carroll said, meaning he will rush from the outside against a tackle. He’ll also play a role in the team’s nickel package.

“When we see him in the right spots we’re going to feature him at, we know he’s going to be a really good prospect for us,” Carroll said.

And while several teams were reportedly turned off by McDowell’s pre-draft interviews, Carroll said the Seahawks had “extensive meetings to find out the core of this guy, figure out what he’s all about.”

They came away knowing he may not be the most vocal player on the team, but confident in his desire to play well.

“He loves to play, it’s important to him,” Carroll said. “He wants to be great. He’s not going to be a flashy, rah-rah type of guy.”

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