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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Wake Forest S Malik Mustapha

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From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today, a scouting report on Wake Forest S Malik Mustapha.

#3 Malik Mustapha/S Wake Forest – 5097, 210 lbs. (Junior)

MEASUREMENTS

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Malik Mustapha 5097/210 8 7/8″ 30 1/8″ 73 1/4″
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
N/A N/A N/A

THE GOOD

– Explosive downhill range; covers good amount of ground
– Makes his presence felt in the run game; powerful kid with bad intentions
– Tone setter with his blend of physicality and demeanor
– Legit range to work in pursuit
– Great instincts in the box and run game; takes proper angles and remains disciplined
– Projects very well to special teams; good straight-line athlete with physicality
– Experience playing all over the field; reps in two high, single high, slot and in the box 

THE BAD

– Short stepper who has limited range playing from depth
– Shorter frame with shorter tackle radius
– Doesn’t make a ton of plays in the passing game; late to react too often
– Can get fooled by play action and misdirection
– Some hip tightness when opening up in deep coverage 

BIO

– Started 22 games during his Wake Forest career
– Finished 2023 season with 80 total tackles, five tackles for loss, one interception and two pass breakups
– Ended his Demon Deacon career with 175 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, four sacks, three interceptions, 10 pass breakups and four forced fumbles
– Served as a team captain during the 2023 season
– Spent one season (2022) with the Richmond program
– Participated in the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl
– Attended Weddington High School in Charlotte, North Carolina
– Unranked recruit in the 2020 recruiting class
– Family is of Nigerian descent 

TAPE BREAKDOWN

Mustapha makes his biggest impact in the run game, where he is adept at playing in the box or running the alley. There is a calm demeanor in how he approaches this part of the game. Even while he is getting downhill quickly, he never looks rushed. Mustapha plays with a lot of explosiveness coming toward the line of scrimmage, quickly closing on opposing ball carriers. 

You can see that explosiveness in this particular play, with Mustapha coming and closing down quickly from his deep safety position. He makes a big stop right near the line of scrimmage. 

Here, Mustapha is the safety being rotated down on the right side of the screen. The offense runs a sweep toward him, trying to reach him with a tight end. Mustapha defeats the block and makes a key stop in space. He excels playing the alley, making his presence felt. 

In this play, Mustapha is the safety on the left side of the screen. He demonstrates superb patience as a tackler, staying disciplined to his run fit and coming to balance as a tackler. Mustapha is a great balance or aggressiveness and technique, rarely putting himself in a bad spot. 

You can see Mustapha on another run fit coming from the right side of the screen. Not only does he sniff out the play quickly, but Mustapha also closes down space quickly and makes a solid form tackle. He doesn’t miss much in the run game overall. 

When former teammates and coaches speak about Mustapha, they talk a lot about the demeanor he brings to the table. He wears a chip on his shoulder and looks to set the tone for his defense. On this play, he meets a blocker in the hole and buckles him. From there, he makes another stop on the run game. 

Mustapha also makes a variety of plays in pursuit. He has good explosiveness and overall range in the run game, closing the gap quickly while working toward the right sideline. There isn’t a ton of flash about Mustapha, but he does have the movement skills to make plays on the perimeter and in space. 

In pass coverage, Mustapha is asked not to make mistakes, and he doesn’t. He also doesn’t make many plays, having just modest range playing from depth. There are moments where, when Mustapha sees it, he can flip his hips and make plays down the field. Here, he is playing center field and ranging over for the interception. 

There are some limitations to Mustapha’s game. In pass coverage, he will never make many game-changing plays on the back end. He is a smaller safety that doesn’t have much of a stride length. He possesses range in the run game. To overcompensate for that modest range, Mustapha is going to have to become a more proactive processor. He is a tick late to diagnosing in pass coverage too often. 

CONCLUSION

In a lot of ways, Mustapha’s game is pretty similar to current Kansas City Chief safety Mike Edwards. Despite having a smaller frame, he is a physically opposing player on the back end who makes his presence felt. That impact in the run game, along with special teams upside, should allow him to become a key reserve even with just middling coverage impact. . 

Projection: Mid-Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 6.6 – Backup/Special Teamer (Fifth Round)
Games Watched: vs Florida State (2023), vs Vanderbilt (2023), vs Pittsburgh (2023), vs Virginia Tech (2023)



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