Senior Bowl American Player of the Game, Western Kentucky EDGE DeAngelo Malone to visit Falcons

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The Reese’s Senior Bowl, which is a showcase of draft-eligible seniors, is a prosperous crop of prospects that Atlanta has monitored. The Falcons’ nine-man 2021 draft class comprised of four attendees of the event in Mobile. Richie Grant, Ta’Quon Graham, Ade Ogundeji, and Frank Darby participated in last year’s Senior Bowl. Even though he went undrafted, Feleipe Franks was another invitee that ended up in Atlanta.

It’s no coincidence the Falcons have dipped into the Senior Bowl pool, either. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith have been outspoken since their first press conference about the kind of players they want to bring in — accountable, intelligent, and tough. The Senior Bowl epitomizes those attributes. Generally speaking, seniors are more dependable and further developed mentally.

Fans can expect a similar haul this year too. On Monday, the Falcons hosted Western Kentucky EDGE defender DeAngelo Malone, a two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and Senior Bowl American Player of the Game.

Last season, Malone led the Conference USA in tackles for loss (16.5) and was second in sacks (8) while leading the nation among defensive linemen in tackles (88). He’s got every accolade imaginable — two-time Conference Player of the Year and three first-team all-conference honors.

Even though Malone is an older prospect at 23-years-old, he possesses traits coaches can’t teach players — quick first step, athleticism, and a never-ending motor. His pass rush moves are more developed than most prospects entering the draft, spending time as the weak-side defender in an even front. Malone has experience as a wide-9 rusher and spent most of his time standing up rather than having his hand in the dirt.

Given his slight frame, aggressiveness running upfield, and lack of gap integrity, Malone projects as a rotational pass rusher. He’s not strong enough to anchor the strong side of formations, so he’ll be a sub-package player to begin his career.

He’s been mocked in the late third-round, which would provide excellent value for the Falcons.

Photographer: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

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