Van Jefferson Draft Profile
Weight: 200 lbs
40 Time: N/A
College: University of Florida
Van Jefferson is as intriguing a receiving prospect as you can find in this years draft, and that's saying a lot, considering that this is one of the deepest, most star studded wide receiver draft classes we've ever seen. Jefferson originally committed to Ole Miss, and would go on to redshirt his freshman year there. After his redshirt year, Van played two seasons for the rebels, before deciding that he wanted to enter the transfer portal, and play for his hometown Gators. Number 12 does not have numbers that jump off the stat sheet, like the Ceedee Lambs, and Jerry Jeudys of the world, but many believe that he will soon have just as large an impact on the NFL as any receiver in this draft. Van runs elite, polished routes, thriving in the short to intermediate game. Although he does not possess the speed that we have grown accustom to seeing in prospects, Jefferson used a combination of his aforementioned deadly routes and top notch body control to thrive against man coverage at the collegiate level, and draw serious attention from NFL coaches and scouts.
When we talk about the pros to Van Jefferson's game, anyone who understands football can see that the man simply knows how to get open. His routes are superb, in fact Van Jefferson's route running is as good as it gets if you ask me. Put on his highlight tape, and you will see him take slant after slant to the crib. NFL scouts rave about Jefferson's release game, and his ability to catch the ball. Watching Van beat press coverage at the line is a thing of beauty, he sets defenders up with an outside release, before crisply breaking off the majority of his routes inward. And you have to press the man, or else the two step slant will be wide open from the outside receiver position every time. Due to Jeffersons elite route running, and superb catching abilities, he is able to excel at all three wide receiver positions, which adds to his appeal for many NFL teams. Scouts also love Jefferson's body control. He is not only able to turn the ball upfield very quickly, but he possess a unique trait in that he knows how to use his body to leverage balls in his favor. Jefferson has also been said to have an "uncommon competitive streak and attitude" for the game of football. A trait that is just the cherry on top, and should only make him that much more appealing for NFL General Managers come next week's draft.
Jefferson has few downsides to his game, but they shouldn't be overlooked. Van does not possess top end speed to pull away from the defense. In other words, he's not going to outrun any NFL competition. Along with not possessing that elite speed that we seek in our receivers nowadays, Van did not produce freaky stat lines at Florida, nor at Mississippi. In fact, the stat lines are nothing special, compiling only 16 touchdowns and just over 2,100 receiving yards between the four seasons he spent with the programs. Not many are worried about Jefferson's lack of production at the collegiate level though, as the talent and upside he possesses is obvious to just about anyone who comes across his film. Jefferson did not participate in any drills at the combine, as he had a fracture in his right foot that required surgery, so we don't have anything from the combine other than his measurables. One last minor detail to Jefferson's game, is that he lacks any sort of production in the run game. This is far from a major red flag, but something worth noting, that he cannot contribute to the run game just yet when it comes to his blocking abilities.
Van Jefferson is more than likely a day two or even day three type prospect. His stock most definitely took a hit when the news broke that he would not be participating in the combine due to foot issues, and there are a number of teams who won't take a chance on him sheerly due to his lack of production at the collegiate level, but many teams will be willing to take the chance on a kid with potential that really jumps off the television when watching him play. My best fits for Jefferson would be the Cowboys or Bills. Teams with proven quarterbacks, and established top two receivers, so that Jefferson can be immediately plugged into a WR3 role, and produce in the league. Expect Jefferson to be selected anywhere in the third, or maybe even fourth round realistically. As a prospect with serious upside, remember the name Van Jefferson, as he could be producing as early as September in the National Football League.
Ceiling: Keenan Allen
Floor: Rashard Higgins