Malcolm Rodriguez is a redshirt senior linebacker from the state of Oklahoma. Rodriguez is a four-year starter and has started over forty games throughout his career. In his time at Oklahoma State Rodriguez has received many awards for his play on the field, like 2019, 2020 second team all Big 12, 2021 Butkus award semifinalist, 2021 First Team All-American and also being named team captain by his peers for the 2021 season. Rodriguez is a versatile backer that can align in both the true inside linebacker position and can play as a nickel linebacker having to align over slot receivers. Rodriguez thrives as a chase and pursuit backer where he can use his speed to run sideline to sideline to make the tackle. In pass coverage Rodriguez also showed the instincts to play pass routes and be a disruptive second level defender in pass coverage. On the next level Rodriguez should see playing time early on third situations and work to eventually carve out a role for himself as a three down player.
Ideal Role: Third down sub nickel linebacker
Scheme Fit: 4-3 scheme
Written by Keith Sanchez
Games watched: Oklahoma (2021), Baylor (2021), Texas (2021), Notre Dame (2021)
Best Game Studied: Notre Dame (2021)
Worst Game Studied: Texas (2021)
Tackling: Rodriguez shows to be an effective tackler. He does a good job of making full body contact with ha carries and wrapping up to bring them to the ground. The one area that he can improve at is his ability to break down in the open field. Rodriguez will from time to time over run ball carriers because of his unwillingness to break down to make the proper tackle.
Football IQ/Instincts: This player looks to have good football instincts. When he plays inside linebacker he does a good job of reading the flow of the play to get to the ball carrier. He also shows good instincts in pass coverage when he shows the understanding of route concepts and makes plays on the football
Competitive Toughness: Rodriguez is a high level competitor. This is a player that plays full speed all of the time and is a big reason why he has been one of the more productive tackling linebackers in the country.
Pass Coverage Ability: In pass coverage Rodriguez is a very productive player. He has really good athleticism that allows him to run with receivers in the deeper portions of the field. He also has an in depth understanding of route combinations that helps him deflect passes when he is in zone coverage.
Run Defending: Against the run Rodriguez does a good job of keying and diagnosing blocking schemes to make his way to the ball carrier. He does a good job of playing in traffic and although he is not as heavy as a prototype inside linebacker he works to create chaos on inside run plays. On outside run plays Rodriguez does well to turn and run with the flow of the play to make him a sideline to sideline player .
Block Deconstruction: This is a trait that Rodriguez can improve on. Rodriguez seems to be lighter than a prototype inside linebacker and it affects him when he has to shed heavier offensive lineman. On most occasions Rodriguez has to win with quickness because it becomes really difficult for him to shed offensive lineman once they are already engaged with him.
Lateral Mobility: Rodriguez excels as a chase and pursuit player which results in a lot of his tackles. But in this pursuit Rodriguez often immediately flips his hips to the sideline and does not properly scrape down the line of scrimmage to match tempos with the ball carriers. This can be due to some slight hips stiffness that prevents him from laterally scraping down the line of scrimmage.
Flexibility: Rodriguez shows to be a good straight line athlete. There are some instances that shows he has hip stiffness. His ability to redirect and change direction in the open field is affected by some lower body stiffness
Leadership: Rodriguez is a good football player but his leadership may be best trait. He was named captain for the 2021 season and there are multiple instances on film where his enthusiasm affects the rest of the Oklahoma State defense in positive way.
Versatility: At Oklahoma State Rodriguez is utilized in multiple different ways. On run downs they have no issue placing him in the back ti stop inside run plays, and on passing plays Rodriguez has the athleticism to bump out over receivers and take on the task of carrying receivers to deeper portions of the field.
TDN Consensus: 70.75/100 (Fifth Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 70.50/100
Marino Grade: 71.00/100