The New York Giants struggled at the receiver position in 2019, and the position doesn’t look much better for 2020 and beyond. Not only do the Giants need to find a true “Number One” receiver to run Jason Garrett’s offense, but they also need to rebuild their depth chart behind Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
Florida’s Van Jefferson isn’t likely to fill the role of a “number one” receiver, but he is an experienced and reliable receiver who can play out of multiple alignments. His father was a 13-year NFL veteran and receivers’ coach, so it makes sense that Van has the kind of technical polish which could lead him to the field early in his career.
Prospect: Van Jefferson
Games Watched: vs. Georgia (2018), vs. Tennessee (2019), vs. LSU (2019), vs. Virginia (2019)
Red Flags: None
Games Played: 45
Receptions: 175 catches
Yards (YPC): 2159 yards (12.3 ypc)
Best: Route running, quickness, yards after catch
Worst: Long speed, size
Projection: An important depth player with position versatility in a YAC-based offense
Florida receiver Van Jefferson is a quick and technically proficient receiver with the versatility to play from multiple alignments. He uses quick feet and a variety of techniques to get a clean release off the line of scrimmage against most coverages. Jefferson wastes little time or motion getting into his route, and is a shrewd route runner. He frequently varies his tempo to disrupt defensive backs’ timing, as well as pressing his stem vertically to create separation on sharp-breaking routes. Jefferson is able to cut and break suddenly, maximizing the separation gained by his route running. He is particularly effective on comeback routes and selling double-moves. Jefferson is a “hands” catcher, extending to maximize his catch radius, framing the ball with his hands, and plucking it out of the air. Once he has the ball secured, he has the ability to pick up chunk yardage after the catch. He is capable playing from the flanker position as well as the slot, and shows good competitive toughness on catches over the middle.
Jefferson is also a willing contributor in the run game. He is a willing blocker for his teammates, showing good tenacity and technique when blocking defensive backs at the second level.
Jefferson’s primary limitations are size and athleticism. He lacks the size to compete against bigger or longer defensive backs in tight coverage. Jefferson is quick off the line of scrimmage but can have his route and timing disrupted by physical press coverage. He also struggles to separate deep due to limited long speed, which also limits his ability to be a scoring threat in run-after-catch opportunities.
Overall Grade: 6.2 - Has average physical traits but some above average position specific traits you can win with. Should be an important depth player with potential starting upside in the right situation. [Grading Scale]
Van Jefferson projects as good number three receiver in an offense which will offer him opportunities to pick up yards after the catch. He will need to be lined up off the line of scrimmage as a flanker or slot receiver, but has the quickness and route running to create separation when he gets a good release off the snap. Jefferson’s quickness and route running should be an asset on third downs to create separation and maximize passing windows out of his breaks. His blocking on the perimeter and at the second level should also earn fans among teams that want to run out of three-receiver sets.