Raiders News: Malcolm Koonce Studies Moves From Von Miller, Shaq Barrett
Malcolm Koonce, Raiders
Buffalo Bulls defensive end Malcolm Koonce (50) in action against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the first half of an NCAA football game on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in DeKalb, Ill. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Las Vegas Raiders emphasized shoring up their pass rush during free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft. This led to the additions of defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and linebacker Malcolm Koonce.

Ngakoue will be expected to make an immediate impact coming off the edge. As for Koonce, he is looking to maintain the talented pipeline Buffalo has established in the NFL.

Former Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack took the league by storm with the Raiders until being traded upon head Coach Jon Gruden’s arrival. Despite hailing from the same alma mater, the undersized Koonce studied those who enjoyed success with a similar build.

According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Koonce models his game after savvy pass rushers such as Denver Broncos’ Von Miller:

“My go-to move has become a long-arm club,” Koonce said. “I can also go long-arm dip. But my favorite move is the ghost dip.”

Koonce credits Miller’s patented fake as one of the best moves out there.

“I think it’s one of the smoothest moves in football,” Koonce said.

Then rookie has also learned from fellow “undersized” edge players such as Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Shaq Barrett and free agent Vic Beasley.

“I still watch Vic Beasley’s college tape, and I have become a big fan of Shaq Barrett,” Koonce said. “He has a similar build as me.”

Given his skill set, Koonce will likely be utilized primarily on passing downs when extra pressure on the quarterback is needed. There is certainly no shortage of players for him to learn from at this position. It is encouraging to see that the rookie is doing his due diligence to ensure that he maximizes his full potential at the next level.

Fortunately, Koonce finds himself in an ideal position to continue learning and developing his game alongside edge rushers such as Yannick Ngakoue, Maxx Crosby, and Clelin Ferrell. This should take some of the pressure off to contribute immediately as he works on honing his craft.

The Raiders managed to find a gem in the later rounds in the form of Crosby during the 2019 NFL Draft. They now have high hopes that Koonce can emerge as another steal under the tutelage of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.

Ngakoue and Crosby are both under contract for the next two years. Developing Koonce for an integral role may pay some major dividends later on down the road.