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Van Jefferson: The Hidden Gem Of The 2020 NFL Draft

Van Jefferson
Van Jefferson: The hidden gem of the 2020 NFL Draft. GM’s will be kicking themselves years later for passing on the Florida wide receiver. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Who is the late-round sleeper in the 2020 NFL Draft that’s going to make it in the NFL? My pick is Van Jefferson, the wide receiver from the University of Florida. In a loaded wide receiver draft, teams will have a ton of options on draft day. The best option of all might be waiting out the storm and letting a player like Jefferson land in your lap while filling out holes on the rest of your roster. Van Jefferson is the hidden gem of the 2020 NFL Draft.

There are a lot of things that stand out with Jefferson. This didn’t stand out to me at the time but it sure as hell does now. Go back to the LSU game. Derek Stingley kicked everybody’s ass all season… except Van Jefferson. Stingley might just be the best true Freshman cornerback I’ve ever seen. Justyn Ross couldn’t do anything to him. Van Jefferson put Stingley in his back pocket.

The first thing you notice with Van Jefferson is his route running ability. Jefferson’s father, Shawn, is the wide receiver coach for the New York Jets. You can tell Van has been working on his craft since he was a youngster. Jerry Jeudy is a freak but in terms of pure route running? Van Jefferson is right there.

When you scout players, you have to factor everything in. Florida had a lot of mouths to feed and bad quarterback play. The perfect formula for Jefferson to fly under the radar. That’s all he’s ever been doing. Jefferson originally attended Ole Miss but ended up transferring out. That would be a red flag until you realize AJ Brown and DK Metcalf are the reason why he left. Maybe you heard of those two guys but they’re pretty, pretty good.

Jefferson put up so so numbers at Florida leading the team in receiving. He capped off his 2019 season with 49 receptions, 657 yards, 13.4 average, six touchdowns. What was more impressive is that Jefferson went down to the Senior Bowl and was the best player on the field. It reminded me of the way Deebo Samuel blew up the Senior Bowl the year prior.

Day after day, Van Jefferson killed everyone in his path. His showed off his brilliant route running ability and was so smart – sudden off the line of scrimmage. Nobody could guard him. He was the best player on the field.

Route running is king. For 10 years, Van Jefferson is going to get open. His route running ability is too crisp for him to fail. Jefferson isn’t little either. 6-foot-1, 200 and never gets pushed around in press coverage. This is a complete wide receiver. 5 years from now, a lot of general managers will be thinking how the hell they missed on Jefferson. Be very careful about passing on Van Jefferson.

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