The draft is officially less than a month away and Eagles fans can’t help but speculate what the team will do in the draft. If you’ve followed my draft pieces or even on twitter (@BcameronPSN), you will have noticed that I’ve been high on a handful of receivers who I have a first-round grade on.
I’m currently high on Lamb, Ruggs, Jeudy, Jefferson, and Hamler. In that order. There’s a certain spark that they all carry that I feel would help the Eagles the best. Let’s talk about the final name on that list. Jefferson has probably been the most mocked prospect to the Eagles at this point and its for good reason. The kid has “it”.
The former LSU standout shined in the slot last season, but more importantly, he showed just how dynamic of a receiver he is. At 6’1” 202 lbs, the young wideout led his team in receptions with 111 in 15 starts. He tallied 1,540 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns as well.
He has a pretty good burst off of the line of scrimmage that leads to him being slick and effective in space. Though Jefferson is decent at getting separation, his improved focus on catching and ball skills have led to such a high draft grade.
The knock-on Jefferson is that he may struggle to play outside due to a lack of press coverage faced and troubles when he has lined up with a corner in his face. However, there’s more than a handful of plays that proves otherwise. His fluid body movement has allowed him to win on 50/50 catches on the outside and inside. While LSU ran a very effective spread offense that allowed Jefferson to shine in the slot, the young receiver was able to showcase all of his best traits in the nation’s most productive offense.
Justin is a very smooth receiver, whose elusiveness allows him to eat up yards after the catch with ease. His acceleration after the catch is probably a trait that has gone unnoticed by fans and media alike. Justin Jefferson moves at ease between tacklers and always finds the right path to help his offense.
Let’s talk about why the Eagles will be fine with drafting Justin. He has the big catch radius at 6’ 1” and has no issues with going up and fighting for the contested 50/50 balls. Jefferson is one of the few receivers in this draft that has the athleticism to adjust to the ball while it’s in the air…unlike Agholor. Sorry, that was too perfect to pass up.
It seems that no ball is too out of reach for Jefferson. While he can improve on his ability to separate at the next level, the ball seems to always find Jefferson no matter. His natural pass-catching ability will be a sight for sore eyes at the Line and could really help Carson’s game reach the next level.
Here’s the part where I get you hooked on #2. Jefferson is a very “twitched up” and explosive with the ball in his hands. Hmm, I’ve heard that a certain GM loves twitchy players. Wonder who that was, oh wait, Howie Roseman! Interesting.
Now, my next question for you is when is Carson at his best? How many times has Carson left the pocket and made miraculous plays? What if he had a receiver that moved with him and always looked for a way to help his QB win??
Interestingly enough, that’s a unique trait that Jefferson has. He helped bail Burrow out of many scramble situations by placing himself at the right place and time. Jefferson doesn’t stop moving until the ball is down. The LSU product has a lot of great things he does well. He’s smooth and slick and with the ball in his hands and he’s also a very willing blocker.
He can absolutely get better in that regard as it seems that he lost the battle after the first contact in blocking but that’s something that can be fixed at the next level. Another part of his game that may need to be altered is his ability to beat press coverage. Jefferson didn’t see much press against him in his junior year as he did as a sophomore. Jefferson didn’t shine against press coverage but that may be a trait that can be fixed by Eagles WR coach Aaron Moorehead.
Justin Jefferson may or may not be there when the Eagles select at 21 but if he is, it shouldn’t be a pick that you’re down on. All these receivers have untapped potential right now and it’ll be on the Eagles coaching staff and Carson to bring out the best in them. The Eagles need a playmaker that can move inside and outside to help the offense, why not go for the jack of all trades in Jefferson?
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports