Analysis: Defensive tackle Noah Jefferson has the athletic ability suited for an NFL roster

With the correct coaching, Jefferson could be a solid rotational defensive lineman.


Photo by Alex Liscio.

Joseph Acosta, Business Manager

With the 2021 NFL Draft taking place on the 29th of April, sportswriters at the FAU University Press will be analyzing and scouting former Owls who hope to hear their name be called in the upcoming draft, and FAU players who didn’t get the chance to have a pro day in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noah Jefferson is one of the players who fit into the latter category. Jefferson began his career at the University of Southern California in 2015, but transferred to FAU in 2018 after suffering a season-ending injury with the Trojans, then transferring to Arizona Western Junior College. 

In two years at FAU, Jefferson had 23 tackles, with 4.5 of those being for loss. He also racked up three sacks as a key cog in the interior of a defense that was one of the best in the country in 2019.

So what does Jefferson do well and what teams could use his services?


What He Does Well

Jefferson is definitely one of the first guys off the bus. According to the official FAU Pro Day results, Jefferson is listed at nearly 6-foot-5-inches and 321 pounds, a height and weight that already puts him in the upper echelon of defensive tackles. He played primarily lined up on the outside shoulder of the guard and the inside shoulder of the tackle, otherwise known as a “FIVE” technique. 

Jefferson is the quintessential run stopper, with enough size and power to stack and shed blockers. He also has a good feel for blocking concepts, with an understanding of how to play concepts as the strong and weak-side defender. 

FAU used Jefferson to rush the passer from both the interior and on the edge, but Jefferson is best suited to rush from the interior.

While Jefferson has the frame and the power to be a star, he only flashed that potential sparingly while at FAU. He was a primary part of a rotation with the Owls, but could never really be the dominant force he had the size to be. 

Jefferson doesn’t win with explosiveness and tends to have poor pad level as a pass rusher, meaning he stands straight up, giving up his chest as an easy target for pass blockers. 

Jefferson could also improve his hand usage, which would make his bull rush even better than before. These are all coachable things, however, and with the right coach, Jefferson could develop and succeed immediately.


Best Fits

Jefferson’s fit right now is as a space-eating five-technique in a 3-4 style defense. Not to say that he can’t be scheme versatile, but to reach his maximum potential, that would be his best option. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers would be a great fit, with players such as Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu to learn under. Pittsburgh is known for fielding fantastic defensive lines, and under defensive coordinator Keith Butler, Jefferson could develop while seeing some playing time. 

I also think the Indianapolis Colts could be an interesting option. While they run a more traditional defense, Jefferson can develop and has the size and frame that the Colts want.

Jefferson is an intriguing prospect whose size and frame should get him looks as a free agent after this upcoming draft, especially with a thin interior defensive line class.

Joseph Acosta is the Business Manager of the FAU University Press. For more inquiries regarding this story or any other stories, email him at [email protected] or tweet him @acosta32_jp.