The linebacker corps was without question the weakest link on the New Orleans Saints defense last year. A.J. Klein is expected back and healthy in the middle of the group, and the newly signed Demario Davis is one of the linebackers expected to join him. But those two, along with Manti Te’o and Craig Robertson are not the youngest of quartets. Alex Anzalone has potential, but has been injury-prone his entire football career. Maybe on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Saints look to a player like Texas LB Malik Jefferson.
- Age: 21 years old
- Height: 6’3
- Weight: 236 lbs
- Arms: 32”
- Hands: 9 5/8”
- Bench Press: 24
- 40 yard: 4.52 secs
- Vertical: 36”
- Broad: 125”
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.
(per Pro Football Focus draft guide)
One of the top high school recruits in the country, Malik Jefferson never quite realized that potential at Texas and only in 2017 did we begin to see why he was so sought after. He looks the part of an NFL linebacker from a size and speed standpoint, and when attacking the line of scrimmage can be a star. Things get a little more uncomfortable when he has to play in space and drop away from the line in coverage. If he is limited to a two-down role despite that athleticism he will be worth nothing more than a mid-round pick.
Would you be happy if the Saints added Malik Jefferson to their linebacker group?
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