LB Malik Jefferson, Texas*

6’2″ – 236 lbs. – 4.52

Started nine of eleven games played in each of his first two collegiate seasons, then all twelve of his junior campaign, earning second-team All-American honors and foregoing his senior season in order to declare for the draft. Weakside linebacker who also takes some snaps in the middle; stays on the field on passing downs. Has solid height for his position, with a somewhat thin build. Greatest strengths as a prospect are his athleticism and overall movement skills, which allow him to play sideline to sideline. Has a pretty good feel for the position and flows well to the ball, although he can be a little bit too aggressive and run himself past some spots. Not the type of linebacker who can fight his way through blocks in order to make a tackle; takes some suboptimal, circuitous routes to the ball because of his lack of bulk and strength. Has a desirable temperament in terms of energy but isn’t especially punishing as a hitter; doesn’t really have the sort of stopping power to set the tone from a physical standpoint. Some teams may wonder if he has the physical temperament to mix it up between the tackles at the next level. Often asked to play in space on passing downs. Controlled footwork in his backpedal. Has the hips and speed to carry opposing targets through his zones when working in coverage. Sometimes lines up split out over an opposing slot receiver. Looks fast when able to plant his foot and drive on a spot. Also rushes the passer, both from the edge and on inside blitzes; has good straight-line speed to close when given an open lane to rush through. However, isn’t the sort of player with a diverse repertoire of rush moves or the ability to generate push with a bull-rush; needs a clear path to get to the passer. An athletic three-year starter with plenty of production in a major conference, he probably made the right decision to declare for the draft, and could get consideration as high as the second day because of his potential as an every-down player. Would be best in a defense which covers him up and allows him to run to the ball with a minimal amount of trash to work through. May need to begin his career as more of a sub-package, passing-game specialist, but has the potential to work himself into the starting lineup of a 4-3 base defense as a weakside linebacker.

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