There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for junior wideout Josh Malone, Tennessee Volunteers.
WR-Josh Malone, Tennessee 6’3” 200 lbs.
During the 2016 season Malone bonded with senior quarterback Josh Dobbs, this helped the junior receiver to surpass all his previous collegiate production with a season that saw him grab 50 passes for 972 yards and eleven touchdowns. Unsure of the next signal caller and how the coaching staff would use him, Malone decided to take the plunge into the NFL. Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the four games I reviewed of the junior playmaker: 2016 contests versus Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, and South Carolina. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. Here are my thoughts:
Cons: He is a stiff athlete that looks robotic with choppy steps and a limited route tree. The former Volunteer caught most passes thrown above his waist but seemed unable to grab lower targets. The wideout too often lets the ball into his shoulder pads to make the catch and rarely high-pointed the pigskin. Malone did not face press coverage very often, but it would take him some time to free himself on the line of scrimmage. His effort on plays that did not involve him varied and when he did block downfield, the receiver got quite grabby or took bad angles.
Pros: Although his route tree is limited, the wideout lined up out wide, in a stack, or in the slot and would occasionally get sent in motion. He is a physical receiver that did not get much separation but could win 50/50 passes and shield defenders from the ball. Malone was willing to run crossing patterns in the middle of the field and fought for first downs with his leg drive with many times being gang tackled to bring him down. Although the receiver was more of a long strider, he could get behind the defense, track the ball over his shoulder and catch the pigskin in stride. His most effective routes were slip screens and crossing routes where he could use stiff arms and spins to get into the open field.
Overall impressions: The junior wideout is still very raw, but could see the field this season as a WR3 or WR4. Perhaps with NFL coaching, he can work on his routes and improve his footwork dramatically. Malone is hardly a finished product, he turns 21 in March but has upside with his physicality and my ball mentality. I would grab him in the 4th round and park him on a taxi squad depending on the NFL team that drafts him.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.