2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Justin Jefferson
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: Jefferson was a top recruit when he selected LSU, and it took some time for Jefferson to live up to the hype. He made a single catch as a freshman, but broke out as sophomore with 54 receptions for 875 yards and six touchdowns. In 2019, the junior was a superb weapon for Joe Burrow producing a lot of big plays for the Tigers' point-machine offense. Jefferson recorded 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. He then helped himself at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash.
There is a lot to like about Jefferson for the NFL, as he has the skill set to be an effective starting receiver. He has mismatch height and length with solid hands, leaping ability, and body control downfield. That makes him very dangerous to make receptions over defensive backs and come down with contested catches even when he is covered. Jefferson high points the ball and is a dangerous red-zone weapon. While Jefferson is not a burner, he has enough quickness to get downfield and challenge defenses. He is a weapon to work the sideline and be tough wideout to defend on back shoulder, fades and slants.
Jefferson may not be a big separation receiver as a pro because he may not have elite speed to run by pro cornerbacks. He could be better off as a No. 2 receiver playing off a No. 1 and taking advantage of single coverage. It would help Jefferson to add some strength and fill out his frame for the next level.
There are some projections of Jefferson being a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Some team sources say Jefferson could have a hard time making it into Round 1 because of the plethora of wide receiver prospects. Jefferson could be a good value pick in the second round and has a shot at going earlier.
Another bonus for Jefferson is that sources say the LSU staff raved to teams about Jefferson as a kid and worker. They say he also is a tremendous practice player who loves to compete and makes his teammates better by challenging them on the practice field. Jefferson is on the bubble of the first and second round, but that feedback could help get him into Thursday night.
Player Comparison: Marvin Jones. Jefferson and Jones (6-2, 198) are similar in size with athleticism, size and quickness. They aren't overwhelmingly dominant in their skill set, but are effective with a nice combination of talents. In the NFL, I could see Jefferson being a wideout similar to Jones.
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