20 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Malik Herring, DL, Georgia
Senior | 6’3″ | 280 lbs | Forsyth, GA
A defensive lineman with a high motor and excellent first step who needs to prove he can be as productive in the pass game as he is against the run
Last season was Malik Herring’s first year as a starter for the Georgia Bulldogs in their 3-4/4-3 multiple scheme. He wasn’t a lock-in starter, as he started in 9 out of 13 potential games. While on the field, Herring lined up just about everywhere along the line of scrimmage. A majority of the time he lined up in a 3-, 4i-, or 5-technique spots, but he has also played the occasional snap from the 2-, 2i-, 4-, and 6-tech positions. Despite his versatility across the line and showing upside traits, Herring has struggled to be one of the top producers on the Georgia roster. Look for him to become a leader for the Bulldogs this season and establish himself as a productive lineman.
– Versatile along the line of scrimmage. He has played from nearly every defensive line technique
– High motor. He always displays effort and does not give up on plays
– Has quick initial speed and a quick first step off the line. Many times he will be in the backfield before offensive linemen take their first step
– 2-gaps well to allow his teammates to produce
– Not fooled by play fakes
– Communicates frequently with teammates pre-snap
– Physical tackler who shows consistent proper tackling technique
– Keeps eyes on RBs and is aware of them sneaking out to the flat
– Very disciplined. Not known for taking many penalties
Areas to Improve:
– Despite his depth of pass rush moves, he fails to execute them frequently. Jack of all trades and master of none right now.
– His base is often too wide, which throws off his balance. He trips over his own feet and gets knocked over by offensive linemen easily
– Although he diagnoses plays quickly, he is slow to react and make a play
– Does not have a high level of production and is usually a clean-up tackler
– When playing on the end of the line, he struggles to keep the edge set. Ball carriers take advantage of his unsteady base and beat him with a hesitation step
– Cannot consistently overpower offensive linemen
– Has rarely seen reps while defending in the red zone
Herring’s versatility across the line, experience 2-gapping, and pass rush repertoire are bonuses for NFL teams, but he clearly thrives when stopping the run. Unless he can prove otherwise throughout the 2020 season, he may primarily be used in the run game at the next level. At this point, Herring’s lack of overall production is the main concern that would hold him back from being selected earlier on draft day. He is expected to be taken late on Day 3 or signed as a PFA.
What to watch for in 2020:
Herring has shown he is reliable in the run game, but can he prove that he can execute as a pass rusher? His variety of pass rush moves are extensive, but they mean nothing if he cannot execute them properly and create production from them behind the line of scrimmage. Can Herring adjust his base and get into a more slim, athletic stance? Due to his wide base, he struggles to stay on his feet when challenged by offensive linemen. His lack of balance on every play will deter teams from taking him seriously as a potential pick in the draft.