Expert Opinion: Malik Jefferson’s Profile

Malik Jefferson was the heartbeat of the Texas Longhorns defense the past three years. Jefferson was extremely productive as a three-year starter at Texas and was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. Additionally, he was named 2nd team All-American in 2017 accumulating 110 tackles – third in the B12.

Jefferson’s calling card is his physical ability. He has the prototypical NFL-style body standing 6’2, 236 lbs. He has a lean frame with long arms and demonstrates a versatile skill set. He has the strength and size to get physical in the box and fluid enough to cover TE’s and WR’s out of the slot.

Although Jefferson demonstrates NFL-type athleticism, he lacks gap discipline and his in-play instincts are underwhelming. After re-watching the USC and Oklahoma games from this past season, Jefferson disappeared frequently. Defending the run, he gets bottled up in traffic and typically isn’t the first to arrive at the ball-carrier. Doesn’t take plays off and has a high-motor and get-off in pursuit. He shines in pursuit when Jefferson has clear vision to the ball carrier or is one-on-one with the runner. He squares up to ball-carrier and is a great form tackler in one-on-one situations and delivers the boom.

Jefferson was a productive, three-year starter at Texas and was the face of the program during Texas’s turnaround. A great college player with impressive size and strength, Jefferson needs coaching and mentoring to develop better instincts and discipline to match his athletic ability. Jefferson has the potential to be an all-pro and should contribute right away to whoever drafts him.

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