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Kansas State Football: Combine Week - Malik Knowles

Malik has an opportunity to improve his draft stock at the combine.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 03 Big 12 Championship - TCU vs Kansas State Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Malik Knowles Combine Profile

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Kansas State at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Class: Sr

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200

Malik Knowles Stats

Year Games Played Receptions Yards Yards Per Reception Touchdowns Kick Return Attempts Return Yards Return Yard Average Touchdowns
Year Games Played Receptions Yards Yards Per Reception Touchdowns Kick Return Attempts Return Yards Return Yard Average Touchdowns
FR 3 10 100 10 2 1 12 12 0
RS FR 11 27 397 14.7 3 6 222 37 1
SO 8 13 204 15.7 3 11 203 18.5
JR 13 29 441 15.2 4 20 662 33.1 2
SR 14 48 725 15.1 2 23 592 25.7 0

Career Honors (Via K-State Sports)

2022 Second Team All-American (all-purpose) (CBS Sports)

2022 All-Big 12 Second Team (Coaches)

2021 Second Team All-American (KR) (Phil Steele)

2021 First Team All-Big 12 (KR) (Coaches)

2021 Second Team All-Big 12 (all-purpose) (Associated Press)

2021 Honorable Mention All-Big 12 (WR) (Coaches)

2021 Honorable Mention Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year (Coaches)

2020 Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award watch list

2019 Honorable Mention Big 12 Offensive FR of the Year (Coaches)

2019 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week (Mississippi State)

Combine Outlook

Out of the 4 Wildcats at the combine, Malik has the most to prove. Snagging a combine invite was crucial for his draft prospects because he must prove his lack of production at wide receiver was system related. When you look at his overall stats as a receiver, they don’t look like an NFL receiver. He was occasionally spectacular at K-State, but never consistent. When he got his hands on the ball, he consistently averaged 15 yards a reception, but he didn’t get the ball in his hands enough to put up big numbers.

Ten years ago, that wouldn’t matter. A receiver with his return ability, paired with all the physical traits NFL teams desire would have been a sure draft pick. Draft him, let him return kicks, and hope he develops into a receiver. If not, you spent a 6th or 7th round pick on a productive returner. Special teams have been somewhat devalued over the last decade. In an effort to curb hits, the NFL banned “the wedge” and moved up kickoffs, putting the back of the end zone well within the range of NFL kickers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL eliminates kick returns all together in the next decade. That leaves Malik in a precarious position.

He needs to kill it at the combine. He needs to put up a 4.4 40, run the cone drill well, and flash solid hands and technique in the on-field drills. His physical traits, in terms of size and weight, are right on par with NFL receivers, if he can add proven speed and agility into the mix, he might have something.

He must convince one NFL team that he can be a versatile (but healthy), explosive player like Kadarius Tony. I expect that’s what his agents are selling. Draft Malik and he can return kicks, run jet sweeps, catch screen passes, and occasionally bust something deep. Not necessarily a gadget player, but a guy who can fill multiple roles while playing receiver.

Draft Guess

A stellar combine paired with solid senior tape could be enough to jump into the 7th round. In the NFL, it’s all about versatility at the bottom of the roster. There are only 55 available players, giving a guy like Malik, who can do a little bit of everything an advantage over a pure receiver.

It’s going to require a great draft process but he has the requisite physical tools to play in the NFL.