Updated: Feb 27
The perfect fit in the current offense for the Philadelphia Eagles. While most fans, including myself, are rooting for Henry Ruggs III to fall all the way down to the Eagles choice at 21, Justin Jefferson seems to be the prototype of what the Eagles look for in a slot receiver.
College Career Stats (2017-2019)
Justin Jefferson played only two games for LSU during his Freshman campaign in 2017, notching zero catches. During his Sophomore year, Jefferson began to show his ability as he started all 13 games that season and hauled in 54 passes for 875 yards (that is an impressive 16.2 YPC) and six touchdowns. Jefferson really made a name for himself this past year - his Junior year - when he and potential number one overall pick Joe Burrow connected 111 times for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. In 2019, Jefferson led the NCAA in receptions and 3rd in the SEC in touchdowns. Jefferson finished his LSU career with 165 receptions, 2,415 yards, and 24 touchdowns.
Tale of the Tape
Sticky Hands & Elite Body Control
Repeatedly snatches the ball out of the air with his hands, rather than making body catches. Jefferson is 6 foot 3 inches tall and uses every bit of it when it comes to his catch radius. This guy is going to be a QB's best friend. Jefferson went across the middle a ton at LSU and displayed a unique ability to catch and hold onto the football while taking hits from linebackers and safeties. While not the best at high pointing the football, Jefferson shows elite body control, contorting his body to make contested catches. He and Joe Burrow hooked up on a number of back-shoulder passes - something Carson Wentz likes to do with his wideouts.
Jefferson lines up in the slot for the most part and has shown a great ability to get off the line of scrimmage cleanly. He sometimes uses a drag step, and then on his next step bursts quickly to create the separation. Another trait that will get scouts and front office members excited is his work to find zones in the scramble drill. There were plenty of times, especially in 2019 when Burrow had to escape the pocket, that he found Jefferson downfield.
Aggressive WR with and without the Ball
One thing that impressed me about Justin Jefferson was the fact that he was used so much stalk blocking, but inside against linebackers and safeties. Jefferson didn't just throw his body either, he is an aggressive blocker and worked to the safety level if there weren't any backers to block. With the ball in his hands, Jefferson is slippery and aggressive. He does not have elite RAC ability, and that may be due to his overall lack of top-end speed. However, the effort to always get an extra two-to-five yards is always on display.
Jefferson has good, but not elite speed. He plays similar to Michael Thomas with great route running ability, and elite hands; but he lacks that second gear speed.
Jefferson mostly lined up inside for LSU. He will have to work on being able to win on the outside. Jefferson displayed some versatility while lining up in the backfield and catching swing routes - where LSU clearly wanted to get him the ball in space. One thing that stood out was that Jefferson lined up next to the tight ends a lot, similar to the way the Eagles would line up Nelson Agholor on certain plays.
Justin Jefferson reminds me a lot of Michael Thomas. Not overly fast, but has great hands and is crafty. He was featured in Joe Brady's offense - the Saints' former offensive assistant - in 2019 at LSU. Jefferson will more than likely be there for the team at pick 21, and he just feels like a Philadelphia Eagle. It will be a stretch for Ruggs to fall as far as 21, but depending on how the WR board shakes out, keep an eye on Justin Jefferson.
This concludes our fifth draft vision profile. You can check out the previous four players we have profiled below: