2021 NFL Draft: DeAngelo Malone Player Profile

DeAngelo Malone NFL Draft
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DeAngelo Malone NFL Draft Overview

Position: Edge Rusher
Height: 6’-4”
Weight: 230 pounds
School: Western Kentucky

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2021 NFL Draft Profile: DeAngelo Malone

Smaller colleges like Western Kentucky don’t always provide the NFL Draft with pro-level talent. DeAngelo Malone looks to break that standard by getting his name called in the middle to later rounds. A quick edge rusher on the weak side, Malone will likely be considered an outside linebacker if he is to land on a roster. His 2020 season saw him return from a shoulder injury and he put up solid production coming out of college. 

Fresh out of Cedar Grove high, Malone played 11 games in 2017, posting 25 tackles as a backup. A bigger role in 2018 saw Malone notching 60 tackles and six sacks, however, a high ankle sprain ended his year. Showing resilience, Malone stormed back in 2019 with 100 tackles, 11.5 sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. This type of production earned him C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. 2020 was a slight decline in a shorter season, only 71 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. With stats and accolades to show, rumblings about Malone have him landing anywhere from the fourth to the seventh rounds. 

Strengths

  • Displays NFL burst off the line;
  • Dominant motor;
  • Has great length;
  • Makes plays on hustle alone;
  • Finds the weak parts of the pocket.

Weaknesses

  • Lacks the girth to set the edge;
  • Gets pummeled on inside gaps;
  • Needs to be more disciplined;
  • Has slight injury history;
  • Lean lower body.

NFL Comparison: Arden Key

Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills

Projection: Fifth-Sixth Rounds

Bottom Line on DeAngelo Malone

Double digit sacks in one season pops off the sheet when looking at Malone’s production.  Even when in lesser roles, Malone produced sacks when on the field. 25 total sacks over four years as a Hilltopper, Malone shows promise when transitioning to the NFL. His first step off the line may allow him to blow by slow linemen. Malone has the length to shift guards and finesse past flat-footed blockers. Coaches will enjoy his hustle, which sees him making plays out of assignment. Malone also feels soft spots on the line and exposes them for pressures.

Speed and skill moves may be shining spots for Malone, however, he remains undisciplined in some aspects. His lean build may get him tossed around by larger pass protectors. A few injuries at Western Kentucky may cause concern for some coaches if they don’t find the production up to par. Rushing in gaps will find Malone struggling to reach quarterbacks. His smaller frame will see him labeled as an outside linebacker. If he sees time on the strong side, tackles may be able to body him in the trenches. 

The ceiling for Malone looks to be very high. Bullish speed and finesse make for valuable traits in the NFL, but a slim physique could be Malone’s downfall. If a team like the Seattle Seahawks grab Malone, he could have success as a versatile linebacker. Pete Carroll has had a knack for taking edge players and linebackers and showcasing talents with adapting to their play. Conversely, Malone could end up in a scheme that sees him playing too much inside and getting beat. The Western Kentucky looks to make the smaller college proud and enter the NFL ready to produce.

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