School: South Carolina
Position: Wide Receiver
Measurements: 6′ 2 7/8″ 216 lbs.
Projection: Top 25
In One Word: Enigmatic
Fantasy Value: reserve, with good potential in a dynasty
Resembles: Roy Williams
Mock Predictions: New York Jets (16th)
In a draft considered a very strong one form wide receivers, Alshon Jeffery is truly the wildcard of the pass-catching candidates expected to be selected in the first round. Some clubs will see the impressive size and ability while others may be wary of the conditioning and production issues.
Coming off an 88 catch, 1517 yard sophomore campaign in 2010, Jeffery was unanimously considered a first round prospect. But those numbers dipped severely last season. Further hurting his NFL stock, pictures of Jeffery surfaced and fueled rumors that he was lazy and would be a conditioning nightmare.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock isn’t a fan. A well-respected draft guru, Mayock questioned Jeffery’s conditioning and ability to separate from defenders. “Big and fast is good. Big and slow is bad” quoted Mayock. The long-forgotten “Steve Spurrier receiver bust” label was brought back in vogue.
But Jeffery’s stock is back on the rise after he showed up in excellent shape at the Combine. He weighed in at 216 lbs and looked like an NFL receiver. Though he did not run at the Combine, at the March 28th South Carolina pro day, Jeffery ran in the 4.4-4.5 second range and had lost a further three pounds.
Other positive attributes that the former Gamecock have shown are a solid set of hands, outstanding body-control (he’s very good at knowing how to shield defenders), good leaping ability and excellent timing. South Carolina ran a lot of pro-style routes for their wide-outs, so the transition should be an easy one.
Jeffery’s signature catch was the leaping snag of a Hail Mary pass in his final college bowl game. He was a force in and around the goal line on jump balls and fades. As long as he’s able to fend off NFL cornerbacks, he could very well be a solid red-zone factor at the professional level.
Opinions are divided on Alshon Jeffery’s draft stock. Some see him as a solid prospect with good a good size/speed combination that will make him a potential impact maker. Others question the conditioning and desire and compare him to former USC wash-out Mike Williams.
The current pass-happy state of the league dictates that there will continue to be an emphasis on big receivers who can make an impact, either down-field or in short yardage. Alshon Jeffery looks like a strong candidate to excel in those areas and should see his named called on the first day of the 2012 NFL Draft.