The Seahawks have a group of receivers with speed and the ability to catch. What Seattle lacks is a receiver who has some size. Jermaine Kearse is the tallest of Seattle’s core wideouts at six-foot-one. Fortunately, the unit is talented enough that the Seahawks do not need to use a high pick on a receiver in this year’s draft. A late-round find could be Josh Malone.
Could Malone be the big receiver the Seahawks need?
One player the Seahawks may be able to get in round six or seven is Malone from the University of Tennessee. Malone is six-foot-three. He ran a 4.40 40 at the combine. He has good hands. A good question may be why Malone is not expected to go higher in the draft.
When Malone came to Tennessee as a five-star recruit, he was expected to start and have a big impact immediately. This did not happen. In Malone’s freshman and sophomore seasons he underwhelmed. One could see the potential was there: Malone had speed and consistent ability to make catches in traffic. At least, he could in spring games. When the real games of autumn came around, he mostly disappeared.
(Josh Malone highlights via The Highlight King on YouTube)
There may be a few reasons for this. Maybe the Volunteer coaching staff did not know how to use Malone. Remember, this is the same staff that favored running back Jalen Hurd over Alvin Kamara. (There may be no other team in college football that would have done this.) Another issue may have been that quarterback Josh Dobbs was not very accurate on deep throws. Plus, Dobbs did not have time to throw deep against important competition many times because of protection issues.
This last part is important because big game production separates a good receiver from a great one. This lack of production may be what is affecting Malone the most in the eyes of scouts. Sure, the raw athleticism is there, but does Malone have the attitude to be a great NFL receiver?
Junior season turnaround
In his junior year, Malone mostly fulfilled his potential. In an early season game against rival Florida, Malone broke the game open with a catch and touchdown run that showed his speed. Malone finished his collegiate career with six touchdown receptions in his last five games. Malone had 112-plus yards receiving in three of those games. He still only finished with 50 receptions in 2016, but had 972 yards receiving – a 19.44 yards-per-reception – and 11 touchdowns.
Malone may have gained the confidence he needs to be a productive player in the NFL in his junior year. Maybe an NFL offensive coordinator will use him better than he was used in college. He has the size the Seahawks need. Malone could very easily have a new home in Seattle soon.