Malik Knowles, WR, Kansas State | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Gradually improving every year, what does Kansas State wide receiver Malik Knowles' 2023 NFL Draft scouting report suggest about his future prospects?

Our rookie scouting reports combine film and analytics to provide the best possible predictions for player performance. With the 2023 NFL Draft just a couple of weeks away, let’s take a look at the scouting report for Kansas State WR Malik Knowles.

Malik Knowles NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: Kansas State
  • Year: Fifth-Year Senior

Knowles was a three-star recruit out of Lake Ridge High School in Mansfield, Texas. After receiving just three offers — only two from Power Five programs — he chose to play college football at Kansas State.

Knowles’ college career got off to a slow start. He appeared in just four games as a freshman, catching a total of 10 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

As will be the theme of Knowles’ time at Kansas State, he did get better each year — it was just a very gradual improvement. In his sophomore season, Knowles played in 11 games, hauling in 27 receptions for 397 yards and three scores.

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In 2020, Knowles’ junior season, he only caught 13 passes for 204 yards and three TDs. However, it was the COVID year, and he only played in eight games.

As a senior, Knowles posted his best season yet. He recorded 29 receptions for 441 yards and four touchdowns. While all three numbers were career-highs, Knowles wasn’t satisfied with his body of work. Accordingly, he chose to exercise his extra year of eligibility due to COVID, returning to Kansas State for a fifth and final campaign.

In his super senior year, Knowles caught 48 balls for 725 yards and two TDs. While I’d stop short of calling it a breakout, it was certainly more of a showcase of his skills than any of his first four years.

Overall, Knowles appeared in 50 games, finishing his college career with 127 receptions for 1,867 yards and 14 touchdowns. It’s worth noting he added in 36 carries for 440 yards and four more scores on the ground.

Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Malik Knowles

Strengths: Tall, surehanded receiver who also impacts games as a kick returner. Uses his hands to separate from defenders, shields away opponents with his frame, and gets vertical then adjusts or contorts in midair to make the reception.

Possesses terrific eye/hand coordination, comes back to the ball, and extends to offer the quarterback a target. Tracks the pass in the air, displays a sense of timing, and consistently catches the ball with his hands away from his frame. Fluid, smooth, and displays good vision.

Weaknesses: Lacks a quick release off the line, does not show a burst, and plays to one speed. Has a thin frame and struggles in battles. Turned in average production at Kansas State the past four seasons.

Overall: Knowles was a reliable pass catcher for Kansas State as a possession receiver running underneath routes. He’s been more flash player than No. 1 wideout, yet his ability as a return specialist could help him secure a spot on a roster this fall.

Malik Knowles Combine Measurements and Results

  • Height: 6’2 1/4″
  • Weight: 196 pounds
  • Arm Size: 32 1/4″
  • Hand Size: 8 3/4″
  • Bench Press: N/A
  • 40-Yard Dash: N/A

Kansas State WR Malik Knowles Current Draft Projection

On Tony Pauline’s Big Board, Knowles ranked 384th overall and is projected to go undrafted. With a 3.17 grade, he’s Pauline’s WR59 in the class.

The best wide receiver prospects are early declares. After that, we want four-year players that were highly productive. Knowles checks neither box.

He not only spent five years in college, but he didn’t “break out” until his fifth season, and it was a break out in terms of it being his best season — not a true stud campaign.

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Knowles did do enough to earn a Combine invite, but he chose not to participate in athletic drills. He did not do them at Kansas State’s Pro Day, either. For many prospects, their draft stock is secure, so there may not be a benefit to participating. For a projected UDFA, it’s a curious decision, as a good showing could raise some eyebrows, and a poor showing wouldn’t really change much.

With that said, college production is the most predictive indicator of NFL success. Knowles spent five years at Kansas State without being particularly productive.

Special-teams experience goes a long way toward earning a spot on an NFL roster. This is likely Knowles’ best shot at making an NFL roster. He not only played special teams at college, but he was quite impactful, earning an honorable mention as Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2021.

It’s always a challenge for Day 3 picks. It’s even more of a challenge for UDFAs. For Knowles, Pauline not only has him going undrafted but doesn’t have him particularly close. It’s a toss-up as to whether anyone even signs Knowles as a UDFA. Sadly, he is unlikely to make an NFL roster.

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