Most junior college transfers achieve All-American status at that level, and then try to find their way in the world of major college football. But Malone was a solid, but not spectacular, recruit when he arrived in Manhattan from the successful City College of San Francisco program (three interceptions in 2010), who earned second-team national honors from the Walter Camp Foundation and third-team notice from the Associated Press after his impact junior campaign.
Malone also received first-team recognition from Big 12 coaches for his efforts in 2011, mostly due to his seven interceptions, which tied for third nationally. He returned one pick for a touchdown in the opening defensive series against Texas Tech (they won the game 41-34), and another interception also helped the Wildcats pull out a 53-50, four-overtime home win over Texas A&M. He started all 13 games for the Wildcats, finishing the year with 78 tackles and 10 pass break-ups.
Looks like an NFL zone corner because of his competitiveness and ability to close on throws to the outside and go up for jump balls. Not contact-shy in coverage or the run game, as is willing to cut down ballcarriers or grab and clutch to get the job done. Used regularly on blitzes because of his ability to change directions and tenacious attitude. His ability to anticipate and react to throws, as well as his hands for the interception, make him a turnover machine.
Not an elite prospect, because he isn’t the tallest, strongest, or fastest of corners. Mostly plays off the line of scrimmage to avoid getting pushed aside by larger receivers, who can also go over the top of, separate from, and box him out. Average straight-line speed and length will cause him problems if losing a step in coverage either over the middle or down the sideline.
Malone transferred from junior college for the 2011 season, earning All-American status in his first year with the Wildcats with seven interceptions. He’ll likely be a mid-to-late round prospect due to his average size, speed and strength, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute on an NFL defense as an always-valued reserve cornerback unafraid to mix it up with any opponent.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.