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Former Rutgers linebacker impresses in workouts for NFL teams

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by cowboyjoe, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    Malast's stock rises
    Former Rutgers linebacker impresses in workouts for NFL teams
    By KEITH SARGEANT • GANNETT NEW JERSEY • April 9, 2009



    PISCATAWAY — Kevin Malast has a message for his peers who prefer preparing for the NFL Draft at combine-prep facilities: There's nothing wrong with Rutgers.


    The recently-graduated Scarlet Knights linebacker had opportunities to train at other facilities, but chose to work out with Rutgers' weight and conditioning staff instead.
    The results, the former Manchester High standout says, speak for themselves.
    "People have all these places where they train but I stayed home because I felt very comfortable with the Rutgers weight staff," Malast said. "To be honest a lot of it is just the work you put into it, how committed you are to get better at running in the 40 (yard dash), and all the agility tests. It's the work you put in to attain that goal, and I've been very blessed to work with the Rutgers training staff because they got me to where I need to go."
    Despite leading the Scarlet Knights and ranking fourth in the Big East with 101 tackles last fall, Malast was considered a marginal NFL prospect after wrapping up his collegiate career in the PapaJohns.com Bowl last December. That all changed at Rutgers Pro Day last month, when he turned the heads of NFL scouts with an impressive workout inside the practice bubble.
    Highlights included 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press, a 35 1/2-inch vertical leap and the fastest time (6.5 seconds) of any player in the three-cone drill.
    But most gaudy was his time in the 40 — a 4.60 that even had famed NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock buzzing.
    "Malast ran better than I think he has ever run at Rutgers," Mayock said afterward. "He's a tough kid. He's the kind of kid who will get in a camp and probably knock a lot of people down on special teams."
    Though the 6-0, 237-pound Malast was flattered by the comments, it wasn't exactly news to him. He believed it all along.
    "It means a lot coming from a guy like that who evaluates players and knows the process so well," Malast said. "But to be honest I knew my capabilities and I know where I stand as far as the rest of the linebackers in the country, which is right in the middle of them all."
    (2 of 2)
    All Malast wants is a chance to put his work ethic on display, and he's doing just that this week. After working out for the New England Patriots on Wednesday, Malast's skills were evaluated by the Giants yesterday.


    "I feel like I can be a supreme special teams player in the NFL," said Malast, who was considered one of Rutgers' most valuable contributors on kickoff and punt coverage in recent seasons. "I have some size and I can run well. And I'm real good with my hands, which I showed a lot at Rutgers. I think that's going to be my foot in the door, but I do think I can play linebacker in the NFL, too."
    There's no shortage of film on Malast, considering he recorded 207 tackles in his 45-game career at Rutgers. His knowledge of the game and the intricacies of defensive playbooks are also considered intangibles in his favor.
    "I always pride myself on playing hard," Malast said. "I have a knack for the ball. I just love the game, and I play that way. I'm a little bit of an old-school player, as silly as it sounds, I would play in the NFL for free. That's the way I've always been, that's the way my dad raised me — to just appreciate the game."
    While he might not want his agent to hear him say he'd play in the NFL for free, Malast said all he's looking for is an invite to an camp and, he believes, the rest will take care of itself.
    "Some people are saying I could go in the later rounds, but I definitely I worked my way into a solid shot of being a free agent," he said. "The way I look at it, I just want a chance to keep playing. Whoever likes me the most, whatever scheme I fit the best is definitely the team I want to go to. Whatever happens, whether I get drafted or not, all I want is an opportunity to be in a camp because I think the way I work will help me once I show those guys how I can practice."
    A spot in the NFL, Malast said, would serve as a reward for his family, most notably his brother, Brian, who four years ago was seriously injured in a near-fatal car accident while responding to a call for the State Police.
    His brother, Malast says, gives him the strength to fight through any adversity.
    "Ever since I was a little kid it's been a dream of mine to play in the NFL," Malast said. "As I got older, throughout my time at Rutgers, I realized there could be a chance. I was getting better each year, and Coach Schiano, he trains you for the next level naturally.
    "It's a cliche but it would be a dream come true, especially for my father and my brother and what he had to overcome. It would just be a great sign of hope for the family. It would just be an unbelievable thing. Words couldn't even describe it."





    Next Page1 | 2Previous PageKeith Sargeant:

    ksargeant@MyCentralJersey.com
    All Malast wants is a chance to put his work ethic on display, and he's doing just that this week. After working out for the New England Patriots on Wednesday, Malast's skills were evaluated by the Giants yesterday.


    "I feel like I can be a supreme special teams player in the NFL," said Malast, who was considered one of Rutgers' most valuable contributors on kickoff and punt coverage in recent seasons. "I have some size and I can run well. And I'm real good with my hands, which I showed a lot at Rutgers. I think that's going to be my foot in the door, but I do think I can play linebacker in the NFL, too."
    There's no shortage of film on Malast, considering he recorded 207 tackles in his 45-game career at Rutgers. His knowledge of the game and the intricacies of defensive playbooks are also considered intangibles in his favor.
    "I always pride myself on playing hard," Malast said. "I have a knack for the ball. I just love the game, and I play that way. I'm a little bit of an old-school player, as silly as it sounds, I would play in the NFL for free. That's the way I've always been, that's the way my dad raised me — to just appreciate the game."
    While he might not want his agent to hear him say he'd play in the NFL for free, Malast said all he's looking for is an invite to an camp and, he believes, the rest will take care of itself.
    "Some people are saying I could go in the later rounds, but I definitely I worked my way into a solid shot of being a free agent," he said. "The way I look at it, I just want a chance to keep playing. Whoever likes me the most, whatever scheme I fit the best is definitely the team I want to go to. Whatever happens, whether I get drafted or not, all I want is an opportunity to be in a camp because I think the way I work will help me once I show those guys how I can practice."
    A spot in the NFL, Malast said, would serve as a reward for his family, most notably his brother, Brian, who four years ago was seriously injured in a near-fatal car accident while responding to a call for the State Police.
    His brother, Malast says, gives him the strength to fight through any adversity.
    "Ever since I was a little kid it's been a dream of mine to play in the NFL," Malast said. "As I got older, throughout my time at Rutgers, I realized there could be a chance. I was getting better each year, and Coach Schiano, he trains you for the next level naturally.
    "It's a cliche but it would be a dream come true, especially for my father and my brother and what he had to overcome. It would just be a great sign of hope for the family. It would just be an unbelievable thing. Words couldn't even describe it."

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