After his most productive season and an impressive performance at the 2021 Senior Bowl, Georgia edge Malik Herring has forced himself into consideration in the 2021 NFL Draft. An injury suffered in Mobile may complicate his stock, but he could be a steal in the late rounds.
Malik Herring NFL Draft Player Profile
- Position: EDGE
- School: Georgia
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 283 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Malik Herring Scouting Report
Positives: Explosive, relatively athletic defensive line prospect who can be used in a variety of schemes. Quick off the snap, uses his hands well, and easily moves about the field. Plays with good knee bend as well as proper pad level, easily changes direction, and gets out into space to make plays. Keeps his feet moving and gets a lot of momentum going up the field. Agile and nicely redirects to the action. Competes throughout the play.
Negatives: Out-positioned from the action by bigger tackles and easily blocked at the point. Slow locating the ball. Suffered a significant leg injury during Senior Bowl practices. Turned in limited production during his Georgia career.
Analysis: Herring possesses the size, play speed, and skill to be used as a three-technique tackle or defensive end in a one-gap system. He comes with an upside, but must quickly produce and elevate his game this summer.
Malik Herring Player Profile
Herring was one of the jewels in the crown of Georgia’s 2017 recruiting class. The dominant defensive lineman out of Forsyth put together a stellar high school career at Mary Persons. Following a productive junior season where he registered 74 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles, he caught the attention of colleges across the country.
The four-star recruit was ranked as the fourth-best strong side defensive end in the class. As a result, he earned over 30 offers from around the nation including Alabama, Michigan, and Clemson. Despite visiting camps at multiple programs, he went into his senior season without making a firm commitment to any of them.
The attention would only intensify in a phenomenal senior season. In 13 games, he racked up 81 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Herring’s performance earned him a spot on the 2016 Georgia Super 11 Team and Class 4A All-State honors. His production helped guide Mary Persons to the semifinals of the 2016 GHSA Class 4A Playoffs. Following the season, he committed to Georgia.
Malik Herring’s college football career at Georgia
Although the edge rusher wouldn’t make his first start for Georgia until his sophomore season, he saw playing time in 14 games as a true freshman. Despite not making the dominant impression that had been the hallmark of his high school career, Herring showed some glimpses of his ability to be disruptive at the college level with 2 tackles and a quarterback pressure against Florida.
The Georgia edge rusher would consistently be a problem for the Gators throughout his college career. Not only did Herring secure his first career tackle for loss and forced fumble against Florida in the middle of his sophomore season, but he also recorded a career-high in quarterback pressures against the Gators as a senior as well.
Having made his first career start against Georgia Tech as a sophomore, Herring grew into a full-time starter in his junior season. Logging 26 tackles, 18 quarterback pressures, and 3.5 tackles for loss, he was named Georgia’s Most Improved Defensive Player.
Despite the disruption of the 2020 college football season, the Georgia edge rusher parlayed that improvement into his best season of his college career. He secured sacks against Alabama and Cincinnati, in addition to setting career-high tackle for loss numbers against Missouri.
Although his sack and tackles for loss statistics aren’t overly impressive, his 24 quarterback pressures tell a different story of his impact on the game. Furthermore, he was a team captain for three games, demonstrating valuable leadership qualities.
Malik Herring’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Following the season, Herring declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. His performances earned him an invite to the Senior Bowl. In Mobile, he was asked to play inside as a defensive tackle instead of an edge rusher as he was at Georgia. The switch inside makes sense since he lacks the speed of a true edge rusher.
However, his strength, handwork, and football intelligence could see him succeed as a defensive tackle. That seemed to be the case early on, in fact, impressing in practices before suffering an ACL tear.
Some teams who could target Herring late in the 2021 NFL Draft include the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Green Bay Packers.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.
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