Malcolm Rodriguez NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Oklahoma State LB
HAND: 9 5/8"
ARM: 30 1/8"
WINGSPAN: 6'1 1/8"
40-YARD DASH: 4.52
— Very good vision and discipline. Identifies run and pass concepts quickly and does not hesitate to react.
— Plays fast downhill. Knows how to stay tight to the DL and work in traffic.
— Good quickness in the box. Can hop gap to gap and function in tight spaces.
— Effective at slipping blocks thanks to his quickness, natural leverage and decent balance.
— Good speed. Can make plays in space and toward the perimeter.
— Heads-up, physical coverage player. Effectively plays his zones and reroutes when possible.
— Short build with poor arm length. Prone to losing engagements with OL and giving up ground.
— Despite putting up 36 reps of 225 at the Oklahoma State pro day, his play strength is inconsistent. He is willing to play violently but just does not have the functional strength or explosion to do it consistently.
— Change of direction in space can get clunky. Needs to take perfect angles to the perimeter.
— Sound form as a tackler, but his short arms can lead to missed tackles.
14 G, 129 TOT, 16 TFL, 3 SK, 4 FF, 1 INT
— 3-star recruit in 2017.
— Recruited to Oklahoma State as a safety but transitioned to linebacker by the time he became a starter in 2018.
— Four-year starter.
— 2019 and 2020 second-team All-Big 12; 2021 first-team all-Big 12.
— Team captain in 2020 and 2021.
Malcom Rodriquez has all the necessary skills of an NFL linebacker, but he will be fighting an uphill battle against his small build.
At 5'11" and 232 pounds, Rodriguez sports a thick build, but he will be one of the shortest linebackers in the league. Likewise, he measured in at the combine with 30⅛" arms. That lack of length regularly showed up on film when going to take on blocks. He rarely proved he could them head-on, both due to his poor length and wavering play strength. Even in the most optimistic projection, there will be instances where he is outmatched physically.
Rodriguez has plenty to offer, though. Despite his size and strength, he still finds ways to excel in the box. He plays with a hair trigger that is seldom wrong, allowing him to get the jump on run plays. Rodriguez is also quite comfortable playing tight to blocks and finding creative ways to slip blocks in congested areas, helping him overcome his deficiencies. He's also mostly impressive in space. Though his change of direction can get ugly at times, he plays with good initial burst as well as long speed to chase to the perimeter.
Rodriguez can hold his own in coverage as well. Keeping up with quicker running backs and slot receivers may be tricky with his change-of-direction limitations, but his awareness and speed allow him to play effectively in zone coverage. He can patrol windows all around him while also excelling at triggering downhill to kill yards-after-catch situations.
Size and strength are Rodriguez's limiting factors. Everything else about his game screams NFL starting-caliber linebacker. That said, size and strength are major limitations to overcome, and Rodgriguez would need to develop into an elite processor and technician to make it work at a high level. He would be best served as a "Mike," where his quick processing, coverage skills and range can be accentuated.
GRADE: 6.9 (Potential Role Player - 4th Round)
OVERALL RANK: 117
POSITION RANK: LB11
PRO COMPARISON: Discount Eric Kendricks
Written by B/R NFL Scout Derrik Klassen