Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room profiles the game of 2020 NFL Draft prospect Van Jefferson, a Florida Gator wide receiver with NFL lineage and skill to integrate his route game thanks to his stick and his hip mobility.
Van Jefferson is a student of the game and he has a quality teacher in the family. His dad is Jets wide receiver coach Shawn Jefferson, who played 13 years in the NFL as a ninth-round pick of the San Diego Chargers. Shawn accumulated over 7,000 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns for the Chargers, Patriots, Falcons, and Lions and he’s coached wide receivers for the Lions, Titans, Dolphins, and Jets—since Van was 10 years old.
Entering the 2019 season, Van is the only receiver in the Florida lineup with a starting job all to himself. A top high school recruit, Jefferson began his career on the loaded receiver depth chart of Ole Miss—Laquon Treadwell, Cody Core, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Damore’ea Stringfellow, and Quincy Adeboyejo.
Despite working with a crew of future NFL receivers, Van earned the most improved offensive player award in 2016 and entered the summer of 2017 with a starting job, catching 42 balls during 10 games as a redshirt sophomore. Transferring to Florida in 2018, Van doubled his previous best touchdown output of his college career, earning six scores and adding three yards per catch to his previous best average.
There are a number of things I like about Van’s game and three of them work well in tandem:
- He has an economical and sudden stick (a jab step that sets up a change of direction).
- This economical stick sets up a sudden flip of his hips to change direction on a dime.
- Because this jab and hip-flip are so effective on slants, Van and the Gators use these skills to set up intermediate and deep routes that play-off this combination of moves.
This RSP Boiler Room provides numerous examples of these three facets of Van’s game as well as his skills after the catch and toughness at the catch point.
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