Draft 2020 – Pick #2: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida

Player Bio
Vanchii Lashawn Jefferson is the son of Shawn, who was an NFL receiver for 13 years and is now an assistant coach with the New York Jets. Van Jefferson was a four-star recruit in his own right, signing with Ole Miss out of Brentwood, Tennessee. He redshirted in Oxford, then burst onto the scene in 2016, earning SEC All-Freshman team honors in 12 starts (49 receptions, 543 yards, 11.1 average, three touchdowns). The following year, Jefferson only started three of 10 games played but still produced (43 receptions, 456 yards, 10.9 average, one touchdown). He decided to transfer as a graduate student after the season, finding a new home in Gainesville. Jefferson started all 13 games in his first year in Florida, leading the team in receiving (35 receptions, 503 yards, 14.4 average, six touchdowns), and did so again as a senior (49 receptions, 657 yards, 13.4 average, six touchdowns). He also has limited punt return experience (four returns, 11 yards, 2.8 average in 2016 at Ole Miss; three returns, 17 yards, 5.7 average in 2018 at Florida).

Analysis

Draft Projection
Round 3
NFL Comparison
Adam Humphries
Overview

Versatile, skilled receiver who has played all three receiver spots but is likely to do most of his damage from the slot. Jefferson has average size and won’t run away from quality man coverage, but he will separate from it with premium route-running and unique looks and angles that keep cornerbacks on their heels. He needs to prove he can deal with NFL size and strength banging on him at the catch point. Jefferson is a pro-ready receiver whose skill level and competitive nature outweigh average explosiveness and he should find quick work as a WR3/WR4.

Strengths
  • Possesses uncommon competitive streak and attitude
  • Father is long-time NFL receiver and NFL receivers coach
  • Above-average release against press
  • Alters speed and angles to keep cornerbacks off-balance
  • Agility and foot quickness for complex routes
  • Hand usage is effective and subtle at the top of the route
  • Attention to detail allows him to separate underneath
  • Unique feel for leverage and works hard back to the throw
  • Uses frame and strong hands to protect the catch point
  • Drew 11 penalties since 2018, including three interferences by Auburn in 2019
  • Gets the ball upfield quickly after catch
Weaknesses
  • Production has been relatively modest
  • Doesn’t have same vertical push on comeback routes
  • Lacks top-end speed to threaten vertically
  • Just four catches over 20 yards against SEC competition since 2018
  • More shifty than sudden at times
  • Can improve in creating late space at catch point
  • Needs to expand threat range to battle route-squatters
  • Won’t spring the running game with blocking ability

(Lance Zierlin – NFL.COM)

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