Prospect: Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas St.
By Clint Clearwater
NFL Draft Director and Senior Writer
January 19, 2013
5-10 Wt: 180 40: 4.52

Strengths: Very impressive instincts.  Keeps his eyes on the QB when in coverage while knowing where the WR is.  Great awareness; shows a good ability to read and recognize plays.  Has a good back peddle and a low center of gravity.  Shows pretty fluid hips.  Very good in zone coverage.  Has a very quick reaction time on the run and the pass.  Shows quick feet and is aggressive to make the tackle.  Makes a good break when the ball is in the air and uses his hands effectively to break up passes.  Able to help out in the running game.  Has soft hands, able to make INTs and can be a playmaker on defense.  Even though he is undersized, he can be physical.  He is a good blitzer, breaks down in the backfield so he doesn’t get juked out.  Pretty good tackler.  Plays faster than his 40 time will suggest.  Leader.

Weaknesses:  Very undersized.  Overall speed is not elite.  Even though he can be physical, I would like to see him be more aggressive.  I think he needs to be a little lighter on his toes; often gets caught flat footed.  Man to man coverage is an area of concern.  Needs to shed blocks better and learn to disengage.  Not a lot of experience against elite competition.        

Summary:  Nigel Malone is, in my opinion an underrated prospect for this draft.  He’s not the biggest DB, probably won’t run a very fast 40, and doesn’t get a lot of publicity but he’s a very good football player.  He has very impressive instincts and awareness that make him a dangerous CB and his ability to read plays and make INTs is special.  On film, he is a leader and a playmaker for the Kansas St. Wildcats.  As much as I like Malone, I do see areas of concern and that is what is keeping me from rating him higher.  He is undersized; he’s not skinny, he looks thick and strong for his size but his overall size is not ideal.  His man to man coverage is something that I am not quite sure about yet. This definitely creates some doubts for me.  I think he will struggle with deep threat receivers in the NFL.  I also saw some footwork and other techniques that need improving, but they don’t bother me as much.  As we prepare for this NFL draft, a lot of things will change regarding player’s draft stock.  Although they are important, the one thing I always have to remind myself is that the most important thing in scouting a prospect is tape.  Malone has good tape.  I don’t think he will test well at the combine, but Malone definitely is a draftable prospect.  It’s hard for me to predict where he will go but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was drafted anywhere from the 4th to the 6th round.  Nigel Malone is a smart and instinctive prospect and a great football player.  I wouldn’t hesitate drafting him.     

Draft Projection: 4th – 6th round