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A Butkus Award winner in high school as the nation's top linebacker, Jefferson chose Texas and started nine games as a true freshman for the Longhorns, picking up 61 tackles (seven for loss) and 2.5 sacks in 2015. He started 21 games from 2016-17, adding 172 tackles (18.5 for loss) and 9.5 sacks in that span, and shared Big 12 defensive player of the year honors with Oklahoma's Ogbannia Okoronkwo in 2017.
Jefferson shined at the combine, finishing top-five in the 40 (third), bench press (tied second) and broad jump (fourth), as well as 10th in the vertical.
Few linebackers are more gifted athletically than Jefferson, who becomes a frustrating evaluation because of the extreme positives and negatives. He has good size and downright explosive movement skills, closing rapidly and with violence when he reads a play properly. The same tools make him dangerous as a blitzer and offer upside in coverage, though he's undeveloped in the latter area.
Jefferson is much less comfortable moving backward than forward, undermining his athleticism with poor coverage awareness. Such issues speak to a broader lack of instincts, as he routinely takes false steps, bites on misdirection and overpursues ballcarriers, opening cutback lanes. He also is inconsistent as a tackler, hitting with power but failing to wrap up at times.
If it ever clicks for Jefferson, look out, but he's mostly a see-ball, get-ball player right now. He must become more disciplined against the run and use his gifts better in coverage, or he'll always be a better athlete than player.
--Field Level Media