DeAngelo Malone spent the 2020 season on the Senior Bowl watch list and was placed right back on it for 2021. A literal defensive force, Malone is arguably the best defensive prospect in C-USA. Malone spent time playing out of both two-point and three-point stances. He is very explosive either way. He is a versatile pass rusher and a strong run defender.
RUSH EDGE – #10 Western Kentucky
Year: Redshirt Senior
High School: Cedar Grove (Atlanta, GA)
HS Rating: 3 star
Phil Steele: PS#407
DeAngelo Malone Scouting Report
Not as quick as you’d like to see. DeAngelo Malone doesn’t have the speed that is ideal for the next level, oftentimes looks just a step too slow. Excellent lateral quickness. Very strong cutback ability. Excellent body control for his position group. Very good first step. Very explosive athlete.
Doesn’t have a lot of brute power to win at the snap on a run. Plays very low coming off of the edge. Has a strong rip move that he uses well as a pass rusher. Still raw with setting up the bend move with his hands to get under the block. Very average placement. Struggles to counter when fought off his first move and doesn’t have a set pass-rush plan.
Good tackler, though he goes a little high with his technique. Part of that might be the fact that he’s among the bigger players in the CUSA. Does well in space. Closes in on the ball carrier quickly and doesn’t give them much room to make a move. Tends to cheat inside when he’s playing contain. Takes good pursuit angles even when working to the boundary. Good range for his position group. Shows good instincts, especially off of the edge. Reads and diagnoses the play well. Excellent motor. Plays through the whistle. Fly’s around the field.
What we want to see from DeAngelo Malone in Mobile
- Consistency as a pass rusher is a big thing with DeAngelo Malone. While he flashed it at times, Malone struggled against better offensive linemen. He doesn’t have a set plan when he enters a rep, relying on his first move. When he’s beat, he struggles to work back into the pass rush. We’d like to see Malone more consistently get after the quarterback with a planned second move.
- How will Malone drop into coverage? His size projects him better as a 3-4 front style RUSH EDGE, which is where we have him listed. However, at WKU, Malone wasn’t really used to drop back into pass coverage. We’d like to see how well he holds up in those drills.
Pre-Senior Bowl projection
DeAngelo Malone projects immediately as a backup speed rusher in a 3-4 defensive front, best used in the RUSH EDGE/hybrid outside linebacker role. Despite that being his best projection, Malone could also be an undersized speed rusher in a 4-3 front. We think his upside is a top 20 pass rusher in the NFL, as long as he develops well. That being said, it’s a big ask.
We don’t know too much about his coverage ability. WKU didn’t really ask Malone to move into coverage much, so we hope to learn more about that part of the projection in Mobile. At this point, Malone projects as a third/fourth-round pick. He has promising upside and could become a big-time player in the next couple of years.