The University of Buffalo isn’t a football powerhouse, however, the Las Vegas Raiders once chose an All-Pro linebacker from there. Could EDGE defender Malcolm Koonce join that shortlist?
In case you’re wondering or if you’ve chosen to forget, Khalil Mack is that prestigious player once chosen from Buffalo. Before you punch the computer or anything like that, we’re not saying Koonce is the second coming of Mack.
The Raiders already had bad luck choosing an ‘elite’ defensive end prospect two years ago with the fourth pick. Instead, the Silver and Black should be looking to upgrade their measly pass rush in April. Let’s take a look at Koonce, a true under the radar prospect at the EDGE position, he’ll definitely be worth a look.
What can Koonce bring to the Raiders?
Standing at six-foot-three and weighing 250 pounds, Koonce had an outstanding career at Buffalo playing in the MAC conference. Over four years, he accumulated 17 sacks, 22.6 tackles for a loss, and four forced fumbles along with 62 solo tackles. While some like to dismiss college statistics, especially in the smaller conferences, Koonce showed he can get after the quarterback.
Pro Football Focus broke down Koonce’s growth over those four seasons and it’s noteworthy. Overall, Koonce was graded at 55.2, 76.4, 83.7, and 84.8, respectively. His pass rush, his strongest attribute, received an 84.4 grade so the Raiders should definitely take note. Also, his coverage grade came in at 83.6 for his senior year.
If you watch his film, you can see Koonce has a great burst off the line though he played against MAC offensive lines. Nonetheless, speed can’t be taught and you see it in his pursuit of quarterbacks. Another strength is his hands and length, he’s always looking to cause turnovers, which explains his three forced fumbles in 2019 alone. Koonce constantly beats his man as offensive tackles are left in the dust. Whether Koonce’s speed and burst can translate into the NFL remains to be seen. However, considering the poor production behind Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell, the Silver and Black might want to consider Koonce come April.
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*Top Photo: Harry Scull Jr. /Buffalo News