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Josh Malone, WR: Big, Fast, And Criminally Underrated

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2017 Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

Florida v Tennessee Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Josh Malone, WR
School: Tennessee | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 208 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round
NFL Comparison: DeVante Parker

College Statistics

Player Overview

Josh Malone was a five-star receiver prospect coming out of high school and received a bunch of offers from major programs such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, and Michigan just to name a few. Ultimately Malone didn't want to leave his home state of Tennessee and committed to the Vols. Malone is a big bodied receiver with exceptional speed and athleticism. He can take the tops off defenses, work underneath in the boundary and fights for extra yards using his physicality. He also is an effective and willing blocker and spring both Kamara and Dobbs for several long runs. He did all this with Josh Dobbs at QB who pulls the ball down to run every 2 snaps. I think Malone has been criminally underrated when ranking the WRs in this draft class. Right now he’s projected as a later-round draft pick but after his combine performance and his pro day tomorrow he could rise solidly into the middle rounds.

Strengths

  • Smooth release off the line of scrimmage with dangerous acceleration and speed if unimpeded.
  • Good vision and natural hands. Doesn’t have many lapses in focus and concentration once the ball is in the air and is reliable.
  • Patient and technical with tough contested catches. Zeros in on the ball and is usually able to make a better play than the defender.
  • Willing and able blocker that will latch out and take a corner on a ride for 5 or 10 yards.
  • Understands space and how to exploit a zone. Gives defenders fits in the open field.

Weaknesses

  • It's hard to know if Josh Malone was open or not when Dobbs pulls down the ball without an aerial view but I would say Malone needs to work on his consistency getting open on intermediate routes when the defender is on his hip.
  • Needs to use his body more to create separation in tight quarters. Lacks great initial burst and twitch you see out of the elite speeders at the position.
  • Want to see more consistent YAC after the catch when he doesn't have open field in front of him.
  • Route running needs refinement.

Let’s see his work:

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

There is a lot Malone brings to the table and a lot to work with and improve. One reason I think he isn’t talked about much is his limited reception totals and limited tape to begin with. I don’t mean to pick on Josh Dobbs but he didn’t allow his receivers a ton of opportunities in Tennessee’s offense. Malone made the most of his opportunities this year and looks the part of a solid possession/vertical threat at WR. He needs work cleaning up some things but I can’t wait to see what he can do with an NFL level QB once he gets his opportunity.

The Redskins WR core currently consists of Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Brian Quick, Maurice Harris, and Ryan Grant. On paper, it may seem the Redskins have little use for a receiver. In my opinion, the WR4 spot is wide open for competition and though the Redskins don’t typically use 4 WRs on the field at once a pick at WR would be a pick looking towards next year as Pryor and Quick are on one-year deals with the latter not locked in to make the roster by any means. It's clear the Redskins are prioritizing size at the position as well as athleticism with their signing of Pryor and Quick in free agency this year. Malone checks the boxes when it comes to his physical makeup as well as his skill set and I think he offers tremendous value at the position in the mid rounds.