DeAngelo Malone (Western Kentucky University) – EDGE
Strengths: Speed, fast twitch rusher, great athleticism and agility. Has excellent production, good tackling and is a great finisher. Malone reads plays well and is able to outmaneuver lower tier tackles with ease. Malone has lined up anywhere from the 3 technique to the wide 9. He is able to make cuts inside and outside, uses stutter steps and has a small but useful array of pass rushing moves. Great arm length and good height for pro transition. Has good bend and flexibility in his hips and ankles respectively. Plays the run well by reading the rusher and the lead blocker and is able to make tackles by the dozens. Has good form when tackling, keeping his head up towards the numbers and uses his momentum well to wrap up the runner and bring them down. Can work standing or having his hands in the dirt.
Weaknesses: Is a little light for the position at the pro level. Will need to add size and strength to compete with NFL caliber tackles. At times he has simply found success running around the tackles more than beating them with technique. Has limited options for pass rushing moves and tends to rely more on his speed or agility to beat blockers than using advanced technique. While he uses his hands well to keep distance, he doesn’t do this consistently which he will need to do to remain a reliable option. Sometime will run himself off balance when pursuing the QB in the backfield and can be juked off his feet. Needs to be able to shed blockers better in the run game as he tends to get locked into blocks and taken out of the play. This comes back to a need for more strength and better use of his hands.
Conclusion: Malone is a solid pro prospect and grades out around a late day 2 pick, depending on how the season shapes out. He has exceptional production in his first 3 years picking up All-Conference First Team and Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019. He is a fast twitch speed rusher who looks like a guy who could fit well initially in a rotational role in his first season in the NFL while developing his technique. He would benefit from employing more pass rushing moves if he hopes to make a mark at the pro level as he won’t be able to run around guys like he does currently. He has great athleticism and good arm length to succeed at the next level but would benefit from putting on about 20 pounds so he doesn’t get run over. I would expect him to go into a pass rushing role in a 3-4 OLB position as he has shown competency in dropping back in coverage.
Round Projection: 5th – 6th Round
Pro Comparison: Noah Spence