Malaki Starks’ Draft Profile | Georgia, S Scouting Report

On PFN's board, Georgia safety Malaki Starks could be one of the top overall prospects in the 2025 NFL Draft with his scouting report.

Who will end the summer as the top preliminary prospect in the 2025 NFL Draft? With his scouting report, Georgia safety Malaki Starks has a compelling case.

What does Starks bring to the table, and what makes him different?

Malaki Starks’ Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • Position: Safety
  • School: Georgia
  • Current Year: Junior

Starks’ transcendent talent was easily identifiable, even during his earlier years. Those who watched Starks as a child recollect devastating stiff arms and acrobatic one-handed catches on offense, while on defense, his range and physicality always rang true.

From an early age, Starks was the force around which his team orbited, and that continued at Jefferson High School in Jefferson, Ga. Starks thrived as a two-way star. On offense, he was a triple-option quarterback who thrashed defenses with his athleticism. On defense, he grew to become one of the best safety recruits in years.

In the 2022 recruiting class, Starks was a consensus five-star recruit and the best athlete in the nation. Everyone knew about his ability on the field, and several numbers confirmed his athletic gifts — among them a personal-best 10.55-second 100-meter dash and a 24’9″ long jump.

Starks didn’t need any extra time to acclimate to the collegiate level. And in fact, he became a starter at safety almost instantly. He started 14 of 15 games played in 2022, racking up 68 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and seven pass breakups, earning Freshman All-American honors for Georgia.

Though the Bulldogs didn’t repeat as champions in 2023, Starks only emphasized his presence as an X-factor in Kirby Smart’s defense. He was a first-team All-SEC performer and a consensus All-American in 2023, accruing 52 tackles, three INTs, and seven PBUs.

Starks will be draft-eligible for the first time after this season, and we expect to see him hit the circuit and hear his name called soon.

Starks’ Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Lab-built athlete with exceptional mass, proportions, and high-end length.
  • Hyper-explosive, twitched-up mover with unfair corrective calibration quickness.
  • Relentless competitor who levies big hits downhill, and jars WRs at the catch point.
  • Adept processor with full-field awareness, who can respond quickly to vertical threats.
  • Shows off rare cognition and adaptability, and can instantly shift roles and focus.
  • Has the frame to hold up in support, and has elite long-strider range coming downhill.
  • Possesses the foot speed and twitch to match in off-man and mirror WR movements.
  • Has exceptional hip leverage IQ in off-man, and can instantly react to route breaks.
  • Can shift between pedals, inch resets, and side-saddle to manage route relationships.
  • Flashes the rare hip flexibility, sink, and twitch to snap down and pursue tight angles.
  • Has sharp ball-tracking ability downfield and can make high-difficulty adjustments.
  • Can fully extend and authoritatively snare passes as a turnover generator.
  • Explosiveness, speed, and reach combine for hyper-elite range in recovery.
  • Willing and gap-sound support participant who can envelop rushers with his wingspan.
  • Has the versatility to play two-high, single-high, in the box, or off-man in the slot.

Weaknesses

  • Hip fluidity, while superb, might not be quantifiably elite with muscle-bound frame.
  • Occasionally experiences slight hitches on sharp 180-degree redirections.
  • On occasion, drifts too far upright on his pedal, which can cause plant-and-drive delays.
  • Occasionally tracks too far vertically when pedaling, giving extra cushion to crossers.
  • When playing catch technique in off-man, sometimes drifts too far vertically over breaks.
  • On occasion, overruns exterior gaps and leaves cutback lanes unencumbered inside.
  • Is not infallible on misdirections and can be baited into pursuing decoy runners.
  • At times, can better wrap up with his length and drive through as a tackler.
  • Still relatively unproven as a blitz and pass-rush threat, though he has immense upside.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Entering the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, Starks grades out as a blue-chip prospect at the safety position. On my board — positional value notwithstanding — he’s worthy of top-five capital in the NFL Draft, and he has the ability to be a central piece of an NFL defense.

It doesn’t take much tape to realize that Starks is different. It starts with his athletic profile.

At 6’1″, 205 pounds, he has excellent lean mass, and he could measure in with arms nearly 33″ long. With that size, he’s also a 99th-percentile athlete with hyper-elite explosiveness and short-area quickness, and deadly long-strider speed.

Naturally, Starks’ physical tools grant him all-encompassing upside and role versatility on the back end — and he delivers. On top of being a game-breaking athlete, he’s an adept processor, a glue piece with versatility and recognition skills, a proactive playmaker, and a relentless, fast-flowing support presence.

In a modern NFL where safeties are demanded to do more and more, Starks perfectly fits the profile of the do-it-all defender. His technical prowess, spatial reasoning skills, closing range, and recognition are deadly traits in two-high and single-high — but he can also man up WRs as an off-man slot defender, close gaps, and enforce in support.

Already, Starks is a blue-chip prospect. And it’s scary to say: There’s still room for him to rise higher.

A two-phase menace and a suffocating safety blanket with playmaking chops, Starks embodies the ideal NFL safety, and he has All-Pro upside at his peak.

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