MALIK JEFFERSON

Texas
OLB

Prospect Info

College
Texas
Hometown
Class
Mesquite, TX
Junior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 3"
236 lbs
32”
Hands
9 5/8”

Prospect Grade

5.57
Chance to Become NFL Starter
How We Grade
40 Yard Dash
4.52
Seconds
 
Bench Press
27
Reps
 
Vertical Jump
36.0
INCHES
 
Broad Jump
125.0
INCHES
 
3 Cone Drill
--
Seconds
 
20 Yd Shuttle
--
Seconds
 
60 Yd Shuttle
--
Seconds
 
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Texas' landing of Jefferson was seen as a turning point for the program, as he was the High School Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker, as well as a Parade All-American and top-20 overall recruit from Mesquite. Longhorn coaches could not wait to get him on the field in 2015, as the true freshman's long, lean build, exceptional athleticism, and quickness allowed him to start nine of 11 games played (he missed time with an ankle injury). He started with a bang, picking up nine tackles, 2.5 for loss, in the season opener against Notre Dame. The Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, honorable mention All-Big 12 selection, and consensus Freshman All-American finished the year with 61 tackles, seven for loss, 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Jefferson struggled with a concussion as a sophomore, starting in nine of 11 games again but still garnering second-team All-Big 12 accolades by league media (62 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, three pass breakups). He was healthy enough to start all 13 games in 2017, leading the Longhorns with 110 tackles (10 for loss, four sacks) and earning second-team Associated Press All-American status and first-team all-conference accolades.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Rounds 3-4
NFL Comparison
Jordan Hicks
Overview
Jefferson has the desired combination of height, weight, speed that teams covet and draft, but his career production never matched his athletic traits. He lacks the instincts and play demeanor to be a middle linebacker and could move to a weakside linebacker spot in a 4-3 to take advantage of his athletic gifts. Jefferson has athletic talent, but needs to play with more of a glass-eating mentality to fit in with NFL linebackers. He has eventual starter talent and should become a very good core special teamer.
Strengths
  • Built like an NFL linebacker with a long, athletic frame and good musculation
  • Explosive with loose hips and good speed
  • Has ability to range far and wide for the tackle
  • Covers ground quickly when scraping
  • Can access a second gear when he commits to the pursuit
  • Substantially more productive when Texas put him in position to think less and just play
  • Tackles improved from 60 to 104 under new defensive coordinator
  • Reactive quickness and agility to spring suddenly into runners trying to burst by him
  • Has recovery speed to make up for slow diagnosis or mistakes in reads
  • Can be a nemesis as A-gap blitzer or off the edge
  • Possesses man cover talent
  • Crowds and squeezing routes
  • Has seven career passes defensed
  • Strength to re-route tight ends off the snap
Weaknesses
  • Plays through a straw and is lacking in instincts
  • Fails to feel climbing blocks and stay ahead of the traffic in his flow
  • Pursuit leverage inconsistent
  • Runs himself out of runs fits too often
  • Doesn't play as fast as he can
  • Needs to play with better knee bend
  • Waits on second level rather than tilting downhill and bringing it to blockers
  • Passive taking on blocks
  • Ducks head into contact and allows blockers to swallow him
  • Gets pushed around more than he should
  • Missing aggressiveness and alpha quality
  • Inconsistent coming to balance as open field tackler
  • Slides off tackles rather than wrapping and running feet to completion
  • Movement in space as zone defender can be undisciplined and inefficient
Sources Tell Us

"He was better this year because Todd Orlando (defensive coordinator) had him attack and run instead of trying to process and react. I see him as a better tester (Combine) than player." -- AFC regional scout

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GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league