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Van Jefferson NFL Draft profile and fantasy projection

We profile Florida wideout Van Jefferson and discuss his potential fantasy football impact.

Florida Gators receiver Van Jefferson speaks during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Florida’s Van Jefferson didn’t have the kind of production you’d like to see from a top-flight wide receiver, so he’ll likely end up being selected in the third round or later in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was the Gators’ top wideout for two seasons but never eclipsed 50 receptions during his collegiate career. He only amassed 2,159 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns while splitting time between Ole Miss and Florida. While you shouldn’t expect eye-popping stats from Jefferson, he does have quite a bit to offer.

Jefferson’s father, Shawn, played in the NFL and has been a wide receivers coach in the pros since 2007. NFL pedigree has helped the younger Jefferson become a true technician on the field. That’s part of what could make him a good fit in any system. Whatever team gets him in the later rounds will get a well-trained weapon.

Scouting Report

Jefferson is one of the best route runners in college football. His footwork, and ability to use angles helps him execute a multitude of patterns at an elite level. Change of pace and his knack for working around press coverage with technique are some of his greatest weapons. he also has strong hands that help him keep the ball away from defensive backs when the try to swat passes down.

Two things counting against Jefferson are his below average athleticism and smaller frame. He doesn’t have the kind of burst burn many cornerbacks and safeties. He’ll be 24 by the time he plays his first NFL, so he probably doesn’t have much untapped potential from a physical perspective. He’s also recovering from a Jones fracture, which could be a red flag for some.

Versatile, skilled receiver who has played all three receiver spots but is likely to do most of his damage from the slot. Jefferson has average size and won’t run away from quality man coverage, but he will separate from it with premium route-running and unique looks and angles that keep cornerbacks on their heels. — NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein

Van Jefferson is a pro-ready wide receiver who should have little issue fitting into any system at the pro level. Jefferson is silky smooth on his routes, plays with a lot of cerebral nuance and illustrates excellent hands through contact. — The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs

Mock Draft Results

Mel Kiper, ESPN: Outside first round
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Outside first round
Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Third round or later
Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire: Out of first round

Fantasy impact: Rookie year

Jefferson doesn’t profile as a first-year star, but could become a valuable role-player for whatever team he joins. He should be a WR3 or WR4 as a rookie. It’s hard to see him going much higher than that given his statistical output through four years of college. Defensive backs will be faster, stronger, and more skilled, and we can’t see his route running won’t get that much better in the league.

Fantasy impact: Career

Jefferson’s excellent route running will be an asset that can help him have a long career, but his ceiling is WR2. Another player who banks on excellent releases and route running rather is the Los Angeles Chargers’ Keenan Allen, who has been a top fantasy 15 wideout for three straight seasons in standard leagues. But Jefferson’s has given no indication that he can haul in upward of 90 catches for three straight years like Allen.