CBS’ Chris Trapasso unveiled his latest mock draft Monday afternoon. He has the Pittsburgh Steelers taking a name we haven’t discussed much on here yet, selecting Texas ILB Malik Jefferson with the 28th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. He writes about Jefferson:
“Jefferson, like Edmunds, is a springy athlete already with NFL size for the linebacker spot. If he learns how to shed blocks more efficiently, he can be a tackling monster for the Steelers.”
Jefferson, a junior, was named the Big 12 co-defensive player of the year and first team all-conference. He declared for the draft on New Year’s Ever. This past season for the Longhorns, started all 12 games and led the team with 110 tackles, 10 for a loss, and four sacks. He made 29 starts in his career, including nine as a freshmen.
Listed at 6’3, 240, he’s likely going to play inside linebacker in a 3-4. Obviously, the Steelers have a need there with Ryan Shazier’s future uncertain and football availability not the priority. An athletic inside linebacker is certainly at the top of the Steelers’ needs. There is no long-term alternative on the current roster.
The power conference, athletic, underclassmen checks all the boxes of the type of guy the Steelers generally target in the early rounds. So Jefferson makes sense on plenty of levels.
I’m also going to take a way too early victory lap if Jefferson winds up being the pick. It’s something I wrote about in my hypothetical “best/worst case draft scenarios” two years ago in my section on Sean Davis.
“Two years later, the team reverts back to a slightly more traditional 2-4-5, drafting Texas ILB Malik Jefferson in the first round.”
I’m charging Tomlin royalties if they take him.
Obviously, we’re still far away from the NFL Draft. Who knows what will happen. But now that the Steelers’ season is officially over, the draft and free agency is all we have to look forward to.