More visits are lined up for the San Francisco 49ers as they gain an idea on who can fill out the remaining 2022 roster lineup before organized team activities (OTA’s).
The edge rush room continues to be a hot topic of discussion as a position need — especially with names like Drake Jackson of USC recently tabbed as a potential addition to Ali Fayad of Western Michigan telling Heavy he hopes to go from the 2021 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Defensive Player of the Year to playing for his favorite NFL team the 49ers.
Now, one NFL insider on Monday, April 11 says the franchise has another key visitor expected to make the trip to the Bay Area. But this one is heading to Santa Clara as a highly decorated defender and called “exciting edge prospect” by one analyst.
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Who’s Visiting the 49ers?
Per the NFL Network’s Tom Peliserro, DeAngelo Malone of Western Kentucky has a future meeting with the ‘Niners. That means the 49ers will be hosting the player of the game from a prestigious bowl contest and one of the more established defenders from his conference.
“Malone – the two-time Conference USA DPOY and Senior Bowl American Player of the Game already visited the Titans, Eagles and Broncos, with Colts, Texans and 49ers visits to come,” Pelissero tweeted.
Malone has garnered the attention and has received high praise from draft analysts.
What Scouts Have Said
The Draft Network’s Brentley Weissman is one who oozes out the most praise for the 6-foot-3, 243-pound Malone.
“Western Kentucky’s DeAngelo Malone is an exciting edge prospect who has been incredibly productive over his five-year career with the Hilltoppers,” Weissman wrote. “Malone has been extremely disruptive off the edge, recording 88 tackles, 16.5 TFLs (tackles for a loss) and eight sacks.”
Weissman lauded the athleticism and speed of Malone in his breakdown of him.
“He has excellent overall athleticism with speed, burst, and quickness. He is explosive off the snap as a pass rusher and threatens the edges in an instant,” Weissman said. “A very loose and agile athlete, Malone shows an ability to corner and flatten to the quarterback with very little difficulty. He flashes the ankle flexion to turn tight angles and can reduce his surface area around the edge to bend the arc. A high-motor player, Malone plays hard and hustles to the football with impressive closing speed.”
The closing speed he’s referring to? It’s shown below — and has Brad Graham of @TheSFNiners_ wanting to see him paired with Nick Bosa.
Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen is another who raved about the quickness of Malone, first describing the “great speed” Malone comes with in his draft evaluation of him. Klassen adds that Malone has strong hands and “flashes above-average power and extension after engagement.”
He showed that exact power through this counter swipe move that got the left tackle letting up after getting beat:
But he also destroys Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar on this straight bull rush that leads Malone to projected top 10 pick Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh.
The downside with Malone is his frame. He’s considered “too skinny” by Klassen and will need added weight to survive in the league. Weissman believes he can be more of a fit for a 3-4…which can cause a dilemma with the 49ers since they’ve gravitated away from that type of scheme.
But as 49er fans saw with Arden Key last season, you can be a quick 240-pound trench defender and thrive off attacking the passer in the 49ers’ trenches. Hence why there are those who believe the 49ers can thrive with getting Malone on board between April 29-30.