2018 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Malik Jefferson
School: University of Texas
Weight: 245 pounds
Round Projection: 2-3
Malik Jefferson almost doubled his tackles from sophomore season to his junior, going from 60 to 110 last season. The co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last year flourished in the new defense at Texas. Jefferson did a great job of attacking the football at the point of contact, instead of waiting to make the tackle. Because of his aggressive nature, Jefferson tends to use his big frame to make the stop, versus wrapping up and driving with his legs. That is something that will need to correction at the next level.
Where Jefferson really stands out. The former five-star high school recruit is athletic as any other linebacker in this draft. Jefferson displays good burst and moves his hips well when he changes direction. That was in full display this past season at Texas, especially the Kansas State and Baylor games in 2017.
Even though Jefferson has the right build to play middle linebacker, there were too many plays last season where he was lost on his reads and washed out of the play. Jefferson will need to improve on his football instincts at the next level. As far as an outside linebacker, Jefferson has shown the ability to make plays on the outside. The tools are there for the second team AP All-American. Jefferson still needs to improve on his coverage skills, but has the talent to be better. He was not asked to cover much for the Longhorns last season.
The Raiders defense, under new Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther, will need to add some more playmakers on defense. Guenther has always done well when his players (specifically the front seven) are able to move sideline to sideline and attack the ball with authority. A player like Jefferson fits that mold. Still raw and could take some time to adjust to the NFL, Jefferson has the tools that should excite the Raiders defensive staff. Getting him in the third round would be ideal. Unfortunately, Jefferson could start to move up on draft boards after the combine.