Malik is an excellent defensive lineman who is playing out of position for his college team. He has good size and an excellent burst off the ball. Malik is a solid athlete and shows good change of direction skills and is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler. He shows on film the athleticism to play multiple positions for the team that drafts him in a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 defense. Malik's real strength is in rushing the passer. His quickness and strength is very hard to handle and when he uses both at the same time to rush the passer, he is explosive. He shows leadership skills and football intelligence in directing teammates along the line. He has good mental stamina. He does a solid job when playing defensive tackle, but when his coaches move him to the outside on some passing downs, that is when Malik's true talents and impact become obvious. Right now, Malik is a sleeper in this draft, but something tells me if he is invited to the Senior Bowl and works out at the combine, he will move up the draft boards quickly.
As a defensive tackle in a 4-3, Malik is not big enough at the point of attack. The effort is there, but he lacks the true techniques and size you need at the next level to stuff the run. He needs to lose a little more weight because his athleticism suggests that he could be an DE or OLB in a 3-4 defense or even be used as a jack linebacker like Clay Mathews (OLB Green Bay Packers), but he will have to lose about ten pounds to allow for his flexibility to show itself when he might be asked to drop off the line and cover.
For the next level, I do not believe Malik's impact position is as a defensive tackle. He has played that position for his college team and has done an good job; howver, in my opinion, Malik should be drafted as a DE for a 4-3 defense or 3-4 defense. On the inside of the defensive line, he is not big enough against the run. I suspect after he works out and shows the athleticism I know he has, teams that use a 3-4 defense will be looking hard at him and trying to decide if they should bulk him up a little and make him a DE in a 3-4 or have him lose weight down to about 260 and use him as a OLB in a 3-4. For me personally, I would slim him down and use him as a OLB in a 3-4. The kid is a natural explosive pass rusher and that, along with his leadership skills and football intelligence, makes me feel he is an impact player if used in that way. Malik is the type of player the scouts like to stash and select later in the draft because his college team had a lot of young players on it and he played out of position. The smart drafting teams like the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Giants and a few others are not afraid to draft a player like Malik and let him work himself into the line up and eventually impact and become one of the core players to build a defense around. This kid has similar talents to Clay Mathews when he came out in the draft. Malik is a little more stout than Clay, but the explosiveness and power are the same. If a team is smart they will draft this kid early and use him the way the Packers use Clay and never be sorry.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart DEC /11