LSU may pride itself on being DBU but the football program has sent its fair share of wide receivers to the NFL. Odell Beckham was a first-round pick. Jarvis Landry, DJ Chark and Reuben Randle all heard their names called early in the second round of their respective drafts. Russell Gage, who was a defensive back his first two seasons in Baton Rouge, has carved out a role as a solid third option for the Atlanta Falcons. Even James Wright heard his name called in the 2014 Draft and had two-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Justin Jefferson will be the next LSU receiver to hear his name called and it’ll be called early.
Position: Wide receiver
Arm Length: 33”
Hand size: 9 1/8”
40 time: 4.43
Vertical jump: 37.5 inches
Broad jump: 126 inches
2019: 111 receptions, 1,540 yards, 18 touchdowns
While Ja’Marr Chase was winning the Bilentikoff Award and Terrace Marshall was the celebrated No. 1 high school receiver in his class, Justin Jefferson was the leading receiver of the historic 2019 LSU offense.
The single most important job a wide out has is catching the ball when it’s thrown your way and there may not be a better receiver in this draft class that has better hands than Jefferson. In fact, per Pro Football Focus Jefferson caught 92.3 percent of contested balls; no other receiver did better than 66.7 percent.
Jefferson might do his best work out of the slot but look at that 40 time he ran in Indianapolis. 4.43. That’s first round pick speed. Moreover, he runs every route on the route tree and runs them well. Jefferson is also a fiend in open space, forcing 25 missed tackles last year like this one:
Though Jefferson is quick off the line, he may not have the top-end speed to be a true No. 1. No one’s going to confuse his speed with Henry Ruggs’ or Tyreek Hill’s. Jefferson will also need to fill out some and there’s concerns about being able to beat press coverage at the next level. Because he was lined up in the slot so frequently, 81 percent per Pro Football Focus, he was rarely challenged like he will be in the NFL. Those two negatives combined might keep him from being an NFL’s team number one option on its depth chart, but Jefferson’s hands are so good he’ll easily be any quarterback’s best friend.