Van Jefferson definitely deserves to be at the top ten wide receivers in the 2020 draft. He is one of the best route runners in his class. He also has great hands. There are some red flags that make it interesting why he is a pick I didn’t like seeing for the LA Rams.
First of all Van Jefferson is one of the oldest prospects in his class which is 23. Being a senior you would expect his improvement rate to increase from now since he was a freshman. Let’s examine the breakdown of his lack of improvement.
At Ole Miss, in his freshman season, he caught 49 passes for 543 yards and scored three touchdowns. In his senior season at Florida he caught 49 catches for 657 yards and scored six touchdowns. This suggests that his improvement didn’t increase through the extra seasons in college. Keep in mind his dominator rating was a low 21% which is in the 25th percentile to all NFL receivers.
His yards per catch was very low also at 13.7 yards. Van Jefferson did not participate at the combine so we do not have an exact account of his athleticism. He did have the occasional injury issues but with the type of offense Florida ran this should have given us a clearer indication where the red flag is coming from. Plus the Gators had a spread offense with six different targets. This all could play a factor in his lack of improvement but with no combine it wont be accurate. It is a wait and see game.
Why take a receiver in the second round?
The LA Rams lost Brandin Cooks in the offseason. With this loss the Rams lost some crucial speed at the wide receiver spot. A second round reach wide receiver pick can’t be the answer. Van Jefferson doesn’t provide the breakaway speed they lost.
If they wanted a wide receiver in the second round to fill their needs they still had Denzel Mims and Bryan Edwards still on the board. They could have went with a day three pick like Tyler Johnson that provides great separation and burst of speed.
The Rams could have selected Josh Jones or Ezra Cleveland in the second round to take the place of the aging Andrew Whitworth. There was also LSU CB Kristian Fulton or Mississippi State LB Willie Gay which could have filled a solid need.
Van Jefferson does have solid route running but there are too many flags on this prospect. He has improvement issues and is the older rookie in his class. There were so many more attractive picks then what the Rams ended up with. NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot is a huge Jefferson fan, but I have to stick to the facts!
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