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NFL Supplemental draft: Malachi Wideman film breakdown

A 6’5” WR who could be a red zone threat

Syndication: USA TODAY
Malachi Wideman
Brianna Paciorka, Knoxville News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

While there are only two players available in next Tuesday’s NFL Supplemental draft, Jackson State wide receiver Malachi Wideman is an intriguing prospect for the Las Vegas Raiders and the 31 other teams in the league.

The 6’5” 190-pound receiver began his college career at the University of Tennessee before transferring to the Deion Sanders-led Tigers ahead of the 2021 campaign. That season, he racked up 34 catches for 540 yards and 12 touchdowns in 11 games while proving to be an elite red zone threat, according to The Draft Network.

However, TDN notes that Wideman faced eligibility issues this past season, which limited him to participating in just six games, per Jackson State’s website.

So, what could the wideout bring to Las Vegas? Let’s flip on the tape and find out.

In this first clip, Bethune-Cookman is going to play Cover 3 which should take away any deep routes from Jackson State’s wideouts. However, Wideman runs a sluggo (slant and go) route and does an excellent job of selling the slant by getting his head and shoulders pointed toward the opposite sideline.

That gets the corner to bite on the short route and the receiver has the speed and explosion coming out of his vertical cut to make the defense pay. From there, Wideman has created so much separation that it’s a pretty easy pitch and catch for a 29-yard touchdown. This is beautiful route-running and speed to win on a deep route.

Here’s an example of what Wideman can do after the catch. Jackson State runs an RPO where they call what looks like either a smoke screen or slant to the receiver on the wide side of the field. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders sees his guy has a one-on-one matchup so he pulls the ball from the mesh point and gives the wideout a chance to make a play in space.

Wideman rewards his quarterback by putting a dirty move on the corner and making the corner miss. He then does a good job of getting up the field and stays on balance through one defender diving at his feet, and tacks on about five more yards after contact before going down. Any quarterback will love throwing a five-yard pass that results in a 25-yard gain on the stat sheet.

We don’t get to see the top of this route in the clip above, but we can see the results which help highlight Wideman’s route-running ability.

It looks like he’s running a double move—likely a 43 route where he fakes the dig and works back outside—and once he comes back into the picture, the cornerback is about three yards away and picking himself off the ground. That’s a pretty good sign that the wideout snatched some ankles at the top of the route.

The other aspect of this play that I like from Wideman is that he isn’t satisfied with just making the catch and taking the 15-yard gain. Instead, he gets physical and lowers his shoulder into the defender to tack on a few more yards and set a tone for the rest of the game. Any wide receivers coach will want to work with a guy who has that mindset/physicality.

There isn’t much to the route itself here as Jackson State dials up everyone’s favorite Madden play, the classic four verts out of a three-by-one set. Wideman just uses his speed to win deep against this Cover 4 look from Bethune-Cookman. What is very impressive though is his ability to lay out and make the catch while landing in the end zone.

Pause the clip right before he starts to jump. He takes off from about the six-yard line and lands with his upper body in the paint. That’s some pretty impressive athleticism and a hell of a catch to survive the ground.

Unfortunately, the broadcast angle limits how much we can see from the clip above as Wideman is at the bottom of the screen. From the looks of it, he runs another sluggo route and gets a ton of separation once again.

This time, he’s working with a backup quarterback late in a blowout game, so the ball isn’t perfect. However, he does an excellent job of adjusting and coming down with the grab to make his teammate look good and create an explosive play.

So, now that you’ve seen a few clips, what do you think? Should the Raiders take a flier on Wideman in the supplemental draft?

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