Malik Vann Scouting Report
6’4″ / 275 lbs.
Malik Vann 40 Yard Dash Time: 4.90 (estimate)
Malik Vann NFL Draft Profile
Malik Vann is a 5th year Senior at the University of Cincinnati. Like many other players on the Cincinnati roster, he is a homegrown talent. Vann went to Fairfield High School in Fairfield, OH where he was one of the most dominating defenders in the state. According to his recruiting profile on 247sports, he was ranked 19th out of all defensive ends in the nation. Although he was only a 3-star recruit, he was getting many offers from some of the nation’s best programs. He had a total of 21 offers before he made his decision to stay local and play at Cincinnati. Some of these schools he passed on include Alabama, Ohio St., Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and many more. Many people questioned why he chose to play for Cincinnati over all these power five schools. However, with hindsight being 20/20. it looks like a good choice now.
For the majority of his career at Cincinnati, Malik Vann acted as a rotational defensive end. Although he didn’t play as many snaps as he would have liked, he made the most of them. According to ESPN, in 2019, he played a total of 394 snaps on the defensive line. In those snaps, he was able to rack up 30 tackles (17 solo), 2.5 sacks, and 1 pass defense. During his 2020 season, he played significantly fewer snaps which really hindered his stats. He played 281 snaps on the defensive line and only had 16 total tackles and 2 sacks. But he was able to bounce back and make an impact during the 2021 season. He played a total of 403 snaps on the defensive line in their College Football Playoff run. He racked up 33 tackles (19 solo), 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 3 passes defended. Keep in mind, this was with many NFL-caliber players on this defense stealing the spotlight from him. Some of these players include Sauce Gardner, Myjai Sanders, Bryan Cook, and Coby Bryant. But as mentioned in my AAC All-Conference article, I think this will be the year Vann will show what he is truly capable of. Now let’s get into what you came here for and that is the scouting report.
When watching his film, there is one part of his game that stands out from the rest. That would be his power and strength when bull rushing an opposing tackle. His hand placement off the snap is very impressive and a key factor to his success. He places his hands on the breastplate of the tackle while using his legs to drive the lineman back. Even if he doesn’t shed the block, this is applying pressure to the quarterback so he has to quickly escape. But I have noticed that by the time the quarterback reacts, it is too late. Vann is already taking them down or forcing them outside the pocket. Vann’s power is what has made him a force to be reckoned with throughout his entire football career. That is why I think he will have a big impact on the Bearcats’ defense this season.
Although I mentioned that his power is the most notable on film, his high motor is also very special. When watching Vann play, he plays every snap with loads of passion and aggression. In my five years of watching Vann play at Cincinnati, I have never seen him give up on a play. Vann is one of those players you can’t help but watch him on every play because he always plays through the whistle. Personally, I think that having this high of motor will make a lot of NFL GMs happy. Although he may not be a top defensive lineman in the nation, he has the most heart.
When watching defensive linemen, the first thing I look for is how explosive they are off the snap. After watching countless hours of Vann on film, it is safe to say he checks the box. Although he may not have the quickest acceleration, his power makes up for it. As briefly mentioned earlier, his hand placement is very impressive off the snap. This is solely due to his strong lower body and quick reactions being able to gain leverage on the tackle. From there, he lets his power and high motor take over.
When watching his film, I realized that what Vann has in power, he lacks in speed. Although this isn’t a very big deal now, it will likely come into play later if he makes the NFL. As mentioned earlier, he has good power, and explosiveness as well as a high motor. But I would not feel comfortable consistently playing Vann at the next level. Let me explain why. Vann is a tremendous player and could have a future in the league. But I think the only way for him to reach his ceiling is to increase his acceleration and top speed. Although there is no true 40-yard dash time on record, I speculate he will run around a 4.90. This is not ideal for an NFL-caliber defensive end. But, if he can post a good 10-yard split and slowly increase his speed, he’ll easily make a 53-man roster.
Stopping the Run
Although Vann is an effective defensive end against pass and run blocking schemes, he has some improvements to make. When watching his film, he struggles to quickly shed blocks against bigger offensive linemen. This has really hindered his ability to stuff the run behind the line of scrimmage. To be the player that I know he can be, he needs to work on shedding blocks quickly. What separates the elite defensive ends from the rest is their ability to shed blocks quickly. So, if Vann can work on his block-shedding mechanics against run-blocking schemes, he could easily get drafted.
Vann has been a consistent starter for the Bearcats’ defense since his sophomore season. But, during the 2021 season, he experienced an ankle injury that plagued him for the remainder of the season. He experienced this injury in the 8th game of the season against Tulane, and he was limited for the rest of the game. Since that injury, Vann’s production went down drastically. Before game 9 against USF, Vann had a total of 28 tackles. However, since that game, he only had 5 total tackles. This made me a little worried about his future and whether he would return for his 5th year. But, after watching Vann play against Arkansas, it’s safe to say he is slowly getting back to where he was.
Malik Vann Draft Stock
As of right now, it is hard to predict where Vann will fall on many draft boards. If the draft were to start today, I would feel comfortable taking Vann somewhere in the 7th round. But, now that he has been sidelined for the rest of the season, I think he will go undrafted. Fortunately for Vann, he is good enough to sign to a team prior to the draft and compete for a spot on the roster.
Overall, I think that Malik Vann is a very good football player and should have the opportunity to play in the NFL. But, as someone who has been watching him for many years, I think he has some big improvements to make. To hear his name called on draft night, he needs to improve his speed and stopping the run. But now that Vann is injured, he needs to make sure he recovers from his injury.
Malik Vann Scouting Report Analyst – Matthew Lewis