Malcolm Bunche: ‘I Have An Opportunity’
Forty-six offensive linemen came off the board during the 2015 NFL Draft. Zero were selected by the Eagles.
While that fact might bring concern to some, for a select few it has delivered opportunity.
Malcolm Bunche called it a “blessing in disguise.” He is one of the offensive linemen the team brought in as an undrafted free agent, and will have a chance to earn a roster spot this summer. He is not the first member of his family to don Eagle green. His father, Curtis, was drafted by the Eagles in the seventh round in 1979 and was “elated” when he learned about his son signing with his former team.
Bunche named Tra Thomas as his favorite Eagle growing up during his introductory press conference, and his bio on the UCLA athletics website states that Jason Peters in the athlete he most admires. Now he can call Peters his teammate.
Bunche, who is listed at 6-6, 320 pounds, played the 2014 season at UCLA after transferring from Miami due to his lack of playing time. He explored entering the 2014 draft, and according to the Miami Herald was rated as a mid-round pick by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. But he opted for UCLA instead and had an up-and-down season. He started the first nine games before being benched, and missed the Alamo Bowl for academic reasons.
“It was disappointing, obviously, but like I said, things happen,” Bunche said when explaining his issues at UCLA. “You can’t just pout, you can’t get under the bus, you can’t blame anybody but yourself and that’s what I did.
“I did some things, I messed up and I dealt with it, but I have an opportunity here and I’m going to run with it.”
Bunche has a good relationship with Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who recruited and coached him during his freshman year in Miami. Bunche thinks that relationship can lead to him being successful in Philadelphia.
“Talking with Coach Stoutland, he said, ‘You know, you’re the one guy we want here, we didn’t draft any linemen so you got to make a name for yourself and you got to put forth the effort in the weight room and the film room and show you want to be here.’ ”
According to Lance Zierlein’s draft profile on Bunche, work ethic may have been a problem at UCLA. One AFC West scout apparently told Zierlein:
“He thinks he’s way better than he actually is. I know this staff (UCLA) was really disappointed with what they got from him this year.”
One thing working in Bunche’s favor is his flexibility. He started games at both tackle and guard over the course of his college career.
“Coach Stoutland talks about being flexible, being able to play multiple positions and right now, I’m at right tackle,” said Bunche. “But he brings it up to me everyday: be ready for guard.”