Van Jefferson Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

by Neil Dutton ·

A wide receiver named Jefferson will be taken early in the NFL Draft at the end of April, but it is not the LSU wide receiver that we will be speaking of at this time. While much has already been written and spoken about of Justin Jefferson. Van Jefferson has not commanded nearly as much attention.

Van is the son of former NFL wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, who enjoyed a 13-year pro career and is now a coach in the league. Coming out of Ravenwood High School, Van was a highly sought after prospect. So much so that he was ranked as the No. 11 wide receiver prospect in the nation back in 2015. Jefferson took his talents to Ole Miss, but never established himself as the dominant player in the Rebels receiving corps. Between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he had the second-most receptions and receiving yards for the team. His 91 grabs earned him 999 yards and four touchdowns. It should be noted that, in the same period, he competed for targets with A.J. Brown, Evan Engram and D.K. Metcalf.

Van Jefferson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile w/ College Stats

After graduating, Jefferson decided to transfer, no doubt hoping that a new team would provide him with another chance to establish his dominance. He chose the Florida Gators and played with them in 2018 and 2019. It was in 2018, when he was 22, that he posted his breakout season with a 21.0-percent (25th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) College Dominator Rating. He scored six touchdowns in each of his two seasons with the Gators, but never caught more than 49 balls in any of his four college seasons. He had 657 receiving yards as a senior, the highest yardage total in his four years.

Check out Van Jefferson on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Rookie Rankings:

Jefferson earned an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he impressed the organizers of the event. So much so that he was named the South Squad Offensive Practice Player of the Week at wide receiver. He was not able to build on this goodwill during the NFL Scouting Combine, unable to take part in the athletic drills due to a Jones Fracture. The doctors at the Combine picked up the injury. It is not clear when he actually suffered it. The recovery time made it a long shot that he would even be healthy for the Gators Pro Day. A Pro Day that never happened due to, shall we say, other concerns.

Jefferson’s inability to take part in the athletic drills at the Combine means that we have only his college production to judge him by. To be frank, it’s not great. Film grinders have long been a fan, complimenting him on his many pro worthy traits. His route-running ability chief among them. He may well be a route-running savant, but the fact remains that he will be 24 years old when the 2020 season begins and spent four years in college. His strong route running, lack of production and lack of athletic measurables make it hard to find solid comps. His closest comparable player, according to our Data Analysis Tool, is Riley Ridley.

The 2020 wide receiver draft class is, as has been mentioned on countless occasions across countless platforms, historically deep. Therefore, there’s a strong likelihood that teams that miss out early may look to correct this in the later rounds. Jefferson’s route running skills, allied to NFL pedigree, should certainly see him taken. Though an awful lot would have to go right for him, and wrong for other players, for him to emerge as a fantasy-relevant contributor at the NFL level. I don’t think you need to take him in rookie drafts, he’ll be available after the draft if you want him on your taxi squad.