Today is the day the Bengals will cut down to their 53-man roster. That will be a very fluid thing though as players are claimed, traded for and added to the practice squad. Cincinnati started off their Saturday with a big one. They are waiving linebacker Malik Jefferson a year after the team used a third round pick to draft him.
Source: The #Bengals are waiving LB Malik Jefferson, a third-round draft pick last year. Big changes under new coach Zac Taylor and DC Lou Anarumo.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 31, 2019
Jefferson never really caught o with the Bengals outside of special teams. He rarely saw the field his rookie season on defense. That was also despite the team being very thin at the position. He also never really stood out during the preseason. He missed the final preseason game with a non-football illness as well.
Jefferson was viewed as a wildly athletic prospect who had some issues with the mental side of the game coming out of college. It seems the hope was that coaching him up at an NFL level could help, but it seems he wasn’t making the progress the staff was hoping for. His career stats as a Bengal includes 10 combined tackles. He kicked in nine combined tackles this preseason as well.
This kind of move is to be expected when team have big changes in the coaching staff. It still doesn’t make the move any more shocking when a third round pick gets cut before he takes the field for his second season. Technically, Jefferson has practice squad eligibility, but it’d be surprising if a team didn’t put in a claim for Jefferson. The possibility is still there, though.
The Bengals will probably be watching linebackers who get cut across the league to help fill out their depth chart at the linebacker position after the bubble players failed to really impress.