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Q&A with Rocky Top Talk: What Josh Malone brings to the Bengals

We spoke with a Tennessee fan and blogger to learn more about the Bengals’ Round 4 selection of wide receiver Josh Malone.

When the Cincinnati Bengals selected Josh Malone in Round 4 of the 2017 NFL Draft, it came as somewhat of a surprise. The team had spent a Round 1 selection on the wide receiver position by selecting John Ross and he and Malone have one very important thing in common: speed.

We spoke with Terry Lambert of Rocky Top Talk, SB Nation's Tennessee Volunteers blog, to learn more about Malone, what he brings to the Bengals and what Cincinnati fans should know about him.

CJ: What do you think of the Bengals' selection of Josh Malone in Round 4? Is that about where you were expecting him to be drafted?

TL: Round 4 is exactly where I had him slotted. He's a big body that can run, so I didn't think it would take long for him to come off of the board on day three.

CJ: His speed suggests he'd be good in the slot, but, he hardly played in the slot in college. What do you think would be a good role for him in the NFL?

TL: I think you want his size and speed on the outside in the NFL. He's a guy that can take the top off of the defense, so mixing him in the gameplan with John Ross and A.J. Green could be very stressful to opposing defenses.

CJ: Off-the-field, is there anything relevant to note... Is he funny? Smart? Anything he was known for in college?

TL: He was Mr. Football in the state of Tennessee coming out of high school. Finance major. Pretty quiet guy off-the-field, which is always a good thing for a college kid.

CJ: What are his greatest strengths?

TL: Malone is a size and speed guy. 6-foot-3 with 4.40 speed probably shifted him up a round or two after a rather pedestrian career in Knoxville. From the moment he stepped onto campus as a true freshman, he was the deep ball guy. His final season, you saw him take steps forward and convert a lot more of those opportunities. He became a difference maker.

CJ: How about any weaknesses?

TL: He needs to win more consistently in contested situations. Like I said above, he took strides in this area as a junior, but his freshman and sophomore seasons -- he left some meat on the bone. I don't think he's all that great of a route runner yet. The offense certainly wasn't receiver friendly either. He's a bit of a project, but the tools are certainly there.

CJ: Did he have any injuries of note while in college?

TL: No injuries at all. Played in 13 games in each of his 3 years as a Vol. I hope we didn't just jinx him!

CJ: Do you think he'll be ready to play at the NFL level right away?

TL: I think he's a role player right off the bat. He's probably a nice WR4 to start his career, giving Green or LaFell as a break when they need one. He's definitely a guy that can grow into a nice piece opposite of Green going forward.

CJ: Anything else you think Bengals fans would be interested to know?

TL: Malone is a former five star recruit and one of Butch Jones' biggest additions. I think he's got immense untapped talent -- as you kind of saw him show this past year. Personally, I think the offense and an inconsistent Josh Dobbs held him back. I'm excited to see him learn from A.J. going forward. I think the Bengals have a nice piece to work with here.