Scouting Report- LSU WR Justin Jefferson

Whether you like it or not, mock draft season is in full bore. This week, NFL.com correspondents Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah, and Lance Zierlein released their initial mocks, and all three had the Green Bay Packers drafting a wide receiver. It appears the flaws with this year’s offense were somewhat obvious.

The Packers will have their pick of the lot at 30th overall. This draft class is one of the deepest in history at the wideout position. I’ve already begun scouting some of 2020’s top pass catchers, starting with LSU’s Justin Jefferson. Zierlein mocked Jefferson to Green Bay in the first round stating, “The Packers' Aaron Rodgers window won't be open forever, so adding a talented inside/outside target with excellent ball skills makes sense.”

Coming out of high school, Jefferson was just a three-star prospect but destined to be a Tiger. His brothers, Jordan and Ricky, played and started for LSU. In high school, Jefferson was extremely athletic, shining not only on the gridiron but in track and field as well.

As a freshman, Jefferson played in just two games, recording one rush for four yards. Then, his sophomore season saw a rise in production as he hauled in 54 receptions for 875 yards, 16.2 YPC, and six touchdowns. Jefferson shined even brighter as a junior being one of Joe Burrow’s go-to targets in his historic Heisman campaign. Jefferson caught 111 balls resulting in 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. He officially declared for the draft on Wednesday, January 15.

Standing 6-3, 192 pounds, Jefferson fits the mold of the ideal Packers receiver. He’s projected to run a high 4.4 forty at the combine and should also test well in agility.

Games watched: vs Florida (10/06/18), three receptions, 51 yards. vs Auburn (10/26/19), six receptions, 60 yards. vs Texas (09/07/19), nine receptions, 163 yards, three touchdowns.

Of all of Jefferson’s intriguing abilities, his versatility is right up there. He’s comfortable from a wide variety of alignments whether it be inside, outside, or flexed off the line of scrimmage. Jefferson is a natural pass-catcher. He can pluck passes outside his frame as well as high point over a defender. He possesses good competitive toughness and play strength to make contested catches and go over the middle to make a play knowing contact awaits him.

Jefferson shows solid strength in his hands and lateral quickness to beat press coverage. Honestly, this trait reminds me a lot of Davante Adams. He’s slippery after the catch being able to make guys miss with a quick juke. Good mental processing allows him to recognize coverages and implement his plan of attack. Jefferson does a nice job finding soft spots in zone coverage.

For as athletic as Jefferson is, he doesn’t have that second gear to be considered for homerun speed. His footwork at the line of scrimmage is good, but his overall ability as a route runner is just solid. He takes long strides, which inhibits his ability to break down and make a sudden change of direction. Jefferson is an inconsistent contributor in the run game as a blocker. On some plays his effort is good, on others, it is lacking as he resorts to patty caking rather than reaching the point of attack with strong hands and leg drive.

In conclusion,  Jefferson would be a good fit in Green Bay and immediately compete as the no.2 behind Adams. However, I’m not sure he’s worthy of a first-round pick. His sweet spot is somewhere in the middle of the second round. The Packers’ second pick comes in at number 60, so they may have to reach for Jefferson at 30 even if they value him as a second-rounder. Or they could trade out of the first for an early second and add another late pick.

 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (15)

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packerbackerjim's picture

January 31, 2020 at 01:06 pm

Good write up. I was able to watch LSU v Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Clemson. Jefferson performed very well against top-notch defenses. The QB coach, Brady, came from the Saints and helped design the best passing offense in college. Jefferson is pro-ready.

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stockholder's picture

January 31, 2020 at 01:15 pm

Seeing 4.55. forty. Per second gear. Nice Production. Size. Needs a good Combine.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 31, 2020 at 03:20 pm

Jefferson has only improved every year. I like him better than Higgins. Should be a 4.45 combine guy. If here's there take him. If not, go for Jackson at OT from USC.

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stockholder's picture

January 31, 2020 at 10:31 pm

No to Jackson. Yes to Jones. I'll take Higgins.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 31, 2020 at 03:21 pm

delete

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Turophile's picture

January 31, 2020 at 01:52 pm

I'd prefer to go with Baylor WR Mims. He is the same height as Jefferson, about 15lbs heavier and has a really good burst of speed. At this time, for some reason Mims is rated as a 3rd round pick at Thedraftnetwork (while Jefferson is a high 2nd). Also, Charlie Brewer (the Baylor QB) is no Burrows (the LSU QB). I'm not saying Jefferson can't play, but on a team like LSU was this year, it's easy to look a little better than you really are.

While the Packers have a good chance at Mims with their late 2nd round pick, Jefferson is probably long gone.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 01, 2020 at 08:09 am

How are his hands? Other than that, I like the profile of a guy who is a little heavier than Jefferson a lot better. Again, I think this team needs to commit to the run. A little more muscle would be good.

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BBlake's picture

January 31, 2020 at 02:43 pm

With this year's draft being so loaded with WRs, my opinion is to go DL, ILB or OL (in no particular order) with the first few picks and get a decent WR or two later in the draft.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 01, 2020 at 11:23 am

Loaded in the front end of the draft, just like any other year.

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Stroh's picture

January 31, 2020 at 03:03 pm

Love Davante, but we don't need another verh similar to him, which Jefferson is IMO. Get a bigger more physical WR and a smaller very fast. Hamler is too small IMO, so Reagor or a 6'3 215+ type. Expect one of each actually. the need to draft 2 WR relatively high. Need contrast WR across the board.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 31, 2020 at 03:23 pm

They already have possession guys in Lazard and Equan. Jefferson fits this offense.

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4zone's picture

January 31, 2020 at 03:51 pm

He's too much like the guys we already have. Need aorw Cobb like guy.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2020 at 04:18 pm

Run more, throw less.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

January 31, 2020 at 07:41 pm

I swear I've heard that somewhere before.

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Rossonero's picture

February 04, 2020 at 07:43 pm

I enjoyed the article. Considering that we're picking at #30 and even if Jefferson winds up with a 2nd rd grade, if Gutekunst likes him, he should take him. Worrying about the 2nd rd grades is splitting hairs to me since were only two picks from the 2nd rd anyway. Rodgers needs weapons -- NOW!

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