New England Patriots mid-season 2018 NFL Mock Draft

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - OCTOBER 07: Harold Landry /
3 of 6
New England Patriots
WACO, TX – OCTOBER 28: Malik Jefferson /

2nd round pick (via San Francisco): LB Malik Jefferson, Texas

Addressing another need on the defense right away, the Patriots use their pick from the 49ers on Texas’ middle linebacker Malik Jefferson. He’s just a junior, but Jefferson is expected to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft after this season. He’s played in 30 games for the Longhorns so far in his college career and he’s had a lot of success. Jefferson has 197 tackles and 13 sacks over parts of three seasons. In 2017, he has had his best season overall so far with 76 tackles through 8 games.  That’s the 3rd best in the Big 12 to this point. Jefferson will help the pass rush, but he’s also fairly strong against the run. He has 24.5 tackles for loss in his Texas career.

The Patriots could look to groom Malik Jefferson to take over for Dont’a Hightower one day. He would be given time to develop his skills as a backup before eventually becoming New England’s defensive leader.