His No. 1 prospect might set the bar higher than the first small-schooler off the board this year—Appalachian State WR Brian Quick, who went 33rd overall to the St. Louis Rams. That might not be as outlandish as it sounds for Elon WR Aaron Mallette, because he has already outperformed Quick when the two played together in the Southern Conference.
Mallette outproduced Quick last year against the same competition, and one pro scout told Brugler that Mallette was the better receiver when the two were on the same field:
“Flip on the Elon-Appalachian State game from last season. (Brian) Quick was good, but that Elon kid (Mellette) was the most impressive receiver on the field that day. If you're looking for flash and sizzle—Mellette isn't your guy. But if you want production, I think he can be a reliable player at the pro level.”
Brugler passes on that Mallette didn't start playing football until his sophomore year in high school, which makes what he's done so far even more impressive and also explains how a potentially elite talent could end up at a small school. According to Brugler, Mallette welcomes and even agrees with questions about how he will fit in the NFL because of the lower level of competition at Elon.
I reviewed the tape from the game mentioned above, and here's what I saw:
- Excellent ball tracking over his shoulder, sideline awareness and adjustments to the ball in flight
- Squares to the QB on short routes and presents a big target.
- Deceptive speed that can create separation downfield
- Runs strong after catch, has some elusiveness for big man and a stiff-arm
- Not sudden or dynamic in routes or after the catch
- Doesn't play with a very physical or combative style
- Was re-routed too easily, which caused an interception
- Inconsistent hands
The beauty of the Internet is that you too can "flip on" the Elon-Applachian State game. Check out Mallette's performance and decide for yourself if he's NFL material.