One of the youngest NFL first round draft picks among former Texas football players is linebacker Malik Jefferson. Former Cincinnati Bengals third-round pick (78th overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft Jefferson had a hard time finding a solid landing spot on a pro team in the early years of his career.
And that fight continued for Jefferson this week. On May 10, the Indianapolis Colts announced they would be relinquishing Jefferson along with offensive tackle Shon Coleman for offensive tackle Dennis Kelly.
This is the third time since last fall that the Colts have fired and/or waived Jefferson. If the Colts continue to repeat this pattern, Jefferson could still end up on that list (or at least on the practice team) by the time training camp begins.
But the fact of the matter is, Jefferson continues to have a difficult time making his mark with a team in the NFL.
Colts part ways with former Texas Football All-American LB Malik Jefferson
Jefferson is now up to half a dozen teams who have signed him at least at some point since the start of his NFL career a few years ago. The most recent of those stints in which Jefferson got real live game representatives came with the Colts last season.
In just a single game with the Colts last season, Jefferson has nine special teams snaps under his belt. That was his lowest total in a season between defensive and special teams since the beginning of his career.
Of course, that doesn’t bode well for the direction in which his career is currently going.
Last season was also the first in which Jefferson couldn’t get even a single assisted tackle under his belt on defense. Heading into last season, Jefferson had recorded 16 career combined tackles, no tackles for loss, no sacks and one quarterback pressure.
He hasn’t really made much of an impact on any NFL team in his four-year career.
This year feels like it could be the last shot for Jefferson to prove he belongs in the NFL. And that’s if most NFL front offices don’t already feel like Jefferson took his last chance with the Colts in 2021.
Jefferson had a very successful collegiate career, where he was an All-American and one of the most successful Texas linebackers in recent decades. The former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and second-team 2017 All-American has yet to bring his skills to the NFL.