Malik Jefferson was the Cincinnati Bengals third round pick. He was on the board due to a trade and jumped up 22 spots to 78. It was a bold move. The Bengals passed on every top Lb till they found Jefferson later in the 3rd round. There have been good things said about him and his received negative criticism by the fans.
Malik Jefferson no doubt is the best Lb coming out of the Big 12 conference. In fact the next best Lb in that conference is Chad Whitener of the OSU Cowboys. He didn’t even get drafted. Malik started his college career at Texas as a Freshman All-American in 2015. At that time he was ranked as one of the best Lbs in the country. Last year he became the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Malik is very raw and edgy. He has the tools to become a very good Lb in the next few years depending on playing time. He might be playing OLB when Vontaze Burfict is on suspension for the first four games. He does have a learning curve much like most Lbs coming from the Big 12. He is a great run stuffer and has great lateral movement. He doesn’t have the coverage ability. The reason not many Lbs come from that conference is because that conference has been blessed with great TEs and RBs that can defeat most of the Lbs in this conference.
The one reason why this pick can come down as a great pick is because he was the only Lb in the conference to have great success. Plus the day of the great coverage linebackers might never be seen again. A lot of team’s defenses are relying on nickel and dime packages since a lot of the Defensive backs in today’s game are more of a hybrid player. Teams want to get a defensive back on these running backs and TEs instead of the modern-day linebacker.
The Bengals should be just fine seeing what Jefferson can do in the first four games. He is not a very good coverage guy but Austin loves to bring in nickel and dime packages. This will keep him focused on what he does best. He will find a home here and in a few years he might no doubt have a starting job with no competition for it.
Here is some tape on Malik Jefferson. Tell me what you think in comments. He has sacked Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield a couple of times.