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Bengals draft picks 2018: Cincinnati selects Malik Jefferson in Round 3

The Bengals have a new linebacker!

Texas v Baylor Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Bengals have selected Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson with the 78th pick in the third round. The Bengals acquired the pick by trading back in the second round with the Chiefs.

The Bengals needed to draft a linebacker with Vontaze Burfict serving a four-game suspension, and Jefferson will be able to fill that role. He provides some much needed athleticism to the group along with a long frame.

Jefferson is a highly regarded linebacker, especially after he had a very productive Scouting Combine. He finished near the top of the linebackers in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and he put up 27 reps during the bench press.

While Jefferson has the ideal build for an NFL linebacker (6’3” and 235 pounds), he lacks the instincts that would make him an easy first round selection. He is incredibly athletic, but he fails to really decipher what is happening in front of him. He needs to gain a better understanding of what he should be doing, and if he does that he could be a very good addition to any team.

That’s why he was on the board early in Round 3, and he’ll be a big work in progress in the NFL. But if he stays committed, Jefferson has the potential to be a very good linebacker in this league.

He finished his career at Texas with 231 tackles (26 for a loss), 13 sacks, two forced fumbles and five passes defended. His stats really took a jump in his Senior year when Texas changed to more of an attacking man to man defense, which is what the Bengals are looking to run next season.

The Bengals’ remaining top draft needs are:


Here’s a rundown of every pick the Bengals hold in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Bengals 2018 draft picks

Round Pick Number Notes
Round Pick Number Notes
1 21 From Bills
2 54 From Chiefs
3 77
3 78 From Chiefs
4 112
5 151
5 158 From Bills
5 170 Compensatory
7 249 From Patriots
7 252 Compensatory
7 253 Compensatory


How would you grade the Bengals’ third round selection of Malik Jefferson?

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  • 45%
    (1674 votes)
  • 38%
    (1406 votes)
  • 11%
    (417 votes)
  • 2%
    (89 votes)
  • 1%
    (56 votes)
3642 votes total Vote Now