A number of Georgia Bulldogs will hear their name called on draft night, as the 2021 NFL Draft is set to begin on April 29. In the run-up to the draft, DawgNation will profile each potential draftee as a part of our Dawgs in the Draft series. Today’s entry will focus on Malik Herring.
Malik Herring is coming off an ACL injury
While attempting to impress scouts at the NFL’s Senior Bowl, Herring, unfortunately, suffered an ACL injury. It ended his week in Mobile, Ala., and prevented him from working at Georgia’s Pro Day in March.
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Prior to the injury, Herring had been a durable and key piece of the Georiga defense. He was a multi-year starter for the Bulldogs at defensive end and a key reason Georgia had the nation’s No. 1 run defense in the country in each of the past two seasons.
“I tell teams how I’m doing rehab-wise and how I’m looking,” Herring said back in March. “Whenever they get me, they get me. I’ll come in ready to play and do my job, know the playbook.”
Herring did not offer a specific time frame but hopes to be ready by early September.
Malik Herring is an undervalued prospect
Herring did not have great statical production at Georgia, as he finished his senior season with just 2.0 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss.
But that was partially by design, as Georgia’s defensive scheme usually has defensive linemen hold up blocks so that the more athletic linebackers can go make plays.
Related: Georgia football’s most underrated defensive player: Malik Herring
In a system that would have encouraged more playmaking, Herring likely would’ve posted bigger numbers. He did have 24 pressures, which was good for second on the team. An NFL team that is willing to be patient with Herring’s recovery could find a very useful player who has some upside as a pass rusher.
Malik Herring says he looks up to NFL All-Pro Cam Jordan
One of Herring’s main selling points as an NFL draft prospect is his versatility. At 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, he has the size and ability to play in just about an NFL system, helping his NFL draft chances.
“I think I’m very versatile,” Herring said. “I’ve got film of me playing 0-nose and pass-rushing all the way outside to shade 9-technique. I feel like I’m very versatile and I fit in any defensive scheme.”
At Georgia, Herring lined up mostly as a strongside defensive end, where he would be asked to hold the edge on running plays or pressure the quarterback on passing ones.
When asked if there was anyone Herring tried to mold his game after, he gave a pretty strong answer in New Orleans Saints All-Pro Cam Jordan.
“He’s explosive off the edge and he can play inside,” Herring said. “I like to look after him and see what he has going.”