Heading into the 2022 season, Louisville QB Malik Cunningham was high atop preseason watchlists. However, a drop in production has resulted in a disappointing season for the Super Senior. Regardless, Cunningham still possesses elite athleticism that are sure to be coveted by NFL front offices. In this 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, we’ll breakdown Malik Cunningham, as well as a predicted 40 time, injury history, and we’ll predict his NFL future.
Malik Cunningham 40 Time
I have Louisville QB Malik Cunningham poised for a 4.50 40 time at the 2023 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. This predicted 40 time is well-above the league average for the position. In fact, a 4.50 40 time would be three-tenths faster than average. On game film, Cunningham’s athleticism shines in all aspects. He’s capable of making defenders miss in the open-field, as well as pickup large chunks of yardage as he scrambles upfield.
Malik Cunningham Injury History
There have been several missed games for Malik Cunningham this season. He missed the game against Virginia following a concussion. Cunningham suffered a left-hand injury against James Madison. His right shoulder was injured late against Clemson, which forced the quarterback to miss the following game against North Carolina State. He was able to return in a limited-role against Kentucky the following week, but did not play a factor after attempting just six passes.
Malik Cunningham Scouting Report
- One Of The Best Athletes At QB In The 2023 NFL Draft Class
- Excellent Ability To Drop Passes Into Zone Coverage Lulls
- Good Poise In The Pocket To Step Up And Avoid Pressure
- Needs To Speed Up His Timing On Throws Outside The Numbers
- Will Miss Defenders Sitting In Coverage Across The Middle Of The Field
- Tendency To Rely Too Heavily On Scrambling-Ability
Malik Cunningham is a four-year contributor at quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals. Cunningham was named to multiple preseason watchlists prior to the 2022 season, including the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and Manning Award. He possesses adequate height and weight for the quarterback position in the NFL. His predicted 40 time of 4.50 seconds is very good when compared to the league average.
He displays good placement on deep routes down the middle of the field to keep the pass away from the defender. Has a good ability to drop a pass into coverage lulls. His poise in the pocket is good as he’s able to step to avoid pressure coming off the edge. Possesses a solid ability to progress through his reads and find the best option for positive yardage. Displays very good quickness and acceleration to scramble out of the pocket and pickup the necessary yardage. Solid capability to deliver balls of differing velocity depending on the situation.
Possesses adequate timing on throws across the field. Simple pitch-and-catch throws can be located away from the body or towards the defender. He struggles to key defenders when they fall back into coverage. Will trust his legs too much at times to try and scramble out of pressure, rather than getting rid of the ball. Displays adequate velocity on throws outside the numbers. I would like to see him speed up his release and timing to get the ball out much quicker. His throwing mechanics have a tendency to get sloppy when pressured.
Malik Cunningham NFL Draft Projection
Ultimately, I have a late-round draft grade on Louisville QB Malik Cunningham. In terms of athleticism, Cunningham is one of the best in this draft class. However, his ability to make reads from the pocket and fit passes into tight coverage are below-average. With that being said, if an NFL coaching staff can refine his technique, and are willing to be patient as he develops, there could be a positive outcome.
The best fits for Malik Cunningham in the NFL are likely those that would result as a backup for a scrambling quarterback. The Baltimore Ravens, as well as the Philadelphia Eagles, are two potential interests. The practice squad could be a viable option for teams, with the likelihood of elevating Cunningham following an injury. Additionally, the transition to Malik Cunningham would be beneficial as mobile offenses would see minimal change in the transition.