NFL Draft Player Profile: Tony Jefferson, Safety, Oklahoma

TonyJefferson2Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson has all the tools to become a solid professional football player. Jefferson was one of the BIG 12’s better safeties over the course of his college football career with Oklahoma. His versatility is a trait that will definitely intrigue teams in this month’s the draft. “I feel like I’m interchangeable,” Jefferson told Pro Player Insiders. “I played a lot of free safety and strong safety this past season, so I think I could play both.”

Several teams in the National Football League have started using more interchangeable safeties. With offenses using these “new age” big, athletic tight ends and the slot receiver position becoming more popular, each safety has to cover. Jefferson can play free safety and roam the deep half or centerfield. In addition to, being able to come up in the box – play the run, and some nickel against slot receivers/tight ends. Jefferson believes his experience in the Big 12 will help him on the next level.

“With me being in the BIG 12, I’ve kind of seen a lot of that,” he said. “I feel like that’s going to help me prepare for the next level — which they are doing a lot now. The NFL is kind of becoming like the BIG 12 — just spreading the offenses out — I’m well prepared for that.”

Tony Jefferson is flying under the radar. He’s an overall talented prospect, however scouts question his 5ft 11, 213 lbs frame. Ironically, one of the best safeties in the league is smaller than Jefferson. Buffalo Bills’ safety Jairus Byrd is arguably the best safety in the league, yet he’s only listed at 5ft 10, 203 lbs. Another reason for Jefferson being lower than he probably should on draft boards is because of inconsistent technique.

“I’ve just been working on my technique,” Jefferson said in response to what he’s been working on throughout this pre-draft process. “I’ve been working on different kinds of stuff — extending my backpedal, being a high – low player and getting out my breaks. You have to be a technician at the next level. So, I know something I need to work on is technique. So I’ve just been trying to fine tune everything I have problems in and I heard I needed to work on.”

With the league attempting to reduce the amount of concussions, hard-hitting safeties will now have to make sure they’re not playing reckless football. While Jefferson can lay the boom on opposing players, he prefers turnovers. “Big hits will get the crowd going, but turnovers is going to get the game going your way,” he said.

Off-the-field, Tony Jefferson comes from a close-knit family: “I was the baby, until six years ago I got a little brother. We’re a real close and tight family. My dad is a pastor, my mom is a stay at home mom — we’re very religious. We like to keep things intact. I went to Eastlake High School – won a state championship my senior year. I was originally committed to USC, but Pete Carroll left, so I switched commitments to OU. I came here (OU) and was able to start all three years, and here I am now.”

Favorite Food: Pizza

Favorite Music Genre: R&B

Favorite Music Artist: Miguel

Play any other sport growing up? Baseball

Hobby: Jefferson likes to act and sing (played the drums at his father’s church)

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