EDGE Western Kentucky 6-3 243 SR #79
GRADE: 84 OVR RANK: 69 POS RANK: 14
ARM LENGTH: 33 1/8”//HAND SIZE: 9 7/8”//40YD: 4.60 (97%)//10YD: 1.60 (94%)
VJ: 35 ½” (87%)//BJ: 9’11” (81%)//BP: 23 (64%)//SS: 4.36 (77%)//3C: 7.06 (87%)
Projection: Close to starting 3-4 OLB or lighter 4-3 DE, likely best fit in a 1 gap, penetrating scheme, with some developmental upside. Draft Projection: Day 3 ~ GrindingTheMocks.com
Ravens Fit: Malone will contribute early because of his refined rush plan and hand technique. He can be a productive pass-rusher and there is still development to be had there given his under-utilized explosion and very good bend. He is a little light in the pants though and his upfield burst is hurt by his circumspection in reading run/pass. A one-gap scheme where he’s not asked to set a physical edge that constricts running lanes too often and allows him to have a greater amount of his weight forward a greater amount of the time will suit him best and that won’t be with the Ravens.
Overall Fit 3/5
Plays mostly as the stand-up 7 technique but has spent time with his hand in the dirt and as the 5 tech too.
He could read run/pass quicker to get upfield in more of a hurry outside of obvious passing situations. On obvious passing downs, he does showcase plenty of explosion so he could take better advantage of this with improved play speed. He has a very good rush plan and hand usage and is one of the more refined pass rushers in the class while still having room to hit a higher ceiling. You can see his plan on show, when setting up what he knows to be his strengths across the course of a game. This can include going to a speed to power move that is not yet powerful enough to beat Offensive Linemen with good ability to reset and re-anchor, only to set up the next down when he will slow his speed as if to set up another attempt to come through the OL before switching course to the outside to set up his excellent cornering and finishing ability. As described, his speed to power doesn’t yet trouble solid OL but he has other moves he can use to disengage the blocker in the first part of his rush.
He uses his feet well to set up moves with a good euro-step and excellent lateral explosion to get to the edge. He has outstanding hand usage and this can be seen when he uses a push-pull move to turn the OL. His hand timing and counters are excellent, never baited, he is always patient with his hands and chooses the right moment to swipe at the OL. In particular his cross-chop move is well timed and powerful. The cross-chop then sets up perhaps his best trait which is his cornering. He has excellent ankle and hip flexion to turn the corner at ridiculous angles and then finishes with closing speed on the QB. He’s a ball-hawk and regularly makes sack fumbles. Plays with a high motor and a high degree of competitiveness.
While he doesn’t read run/pass quickly, he does process types of blocks quickly in the run game and it allows him to be a playmaker against the run. He has very good hand usage in the run game too, with great timing and placement and glimpses of power in his hands. On the frontside of Outside Zone he stays gap disciplined, sets a competent, if not especially physical edge, sheds with his hand usage and tackles the runner in his gap.
He can constrict running lanes against bigger Tight Ends but he otherwise won’t set a dominant edge against OTs. On the backside of Zone runs he can take on backside cut-off blocks and tackle the runner in the gap. He reacts to reach blocks and pullers quickly and uses his explosion and processing to get outside. He finds a way to be productive against the run, plays with a low pad level and good leverage
Pro-ready game as a pass-rusher with his hand usage and rush plan. Some developmental traits too with his bend. Productive run defender but a little light in the pants.
JR: 7 Sacks, 8 QB Hits, 79 Total Tackles, 4 FF, 2 Batted Balls
SO: 14 Sacks, 12 QB Hits, 83 Total Tackles, 1 FF