ALSHON JEFFERY, WR, SOUTH CAROLINA
TRIANGLE NUMBERS: 6-3, 230, 4.55
What I like…
- Possesses elite size for the position with a long set of arms and massive pair of hands.
- Is a natural plucker of the football. Consistently is able to extend off his frame and maximize his long wingspan in order to go get the throw.
- Is very coordinated when asked to adjust to the throw, contorting his body, extending his arms and still getting his feet in bounds.
- Showcases good initial short area quickness off the line for his size. Knows how to work the jab step vs. press, get corners off balance and will drop his pad level initially into his route.
- Has a slight burst off the line at times and uses his length well to fend off defenders who try to stay engaged down the field. Does a nice job maintaining balance and keeping defenders from getting into his frame vertically.
- Locates the football well vertically. Has natural feel working the back shoulder fade with the strength to fight though contact and the grace to avoid it.
- Builds speed as he goes vertically down the field. The further down the field he’s able to run the tough he is to cover because of his deceptive strider speed.
- Exhibits “plus” body control when asked to quickly collect himself and adjust to the play.
- Looks like a power forward the way he goes up and gets the football.
- Showcases some savvy as a vertical route runner looking off defenders and cleanly getting out of his breaks.
- Does a nice job gaining an initial step to the post/corner, putting the defensive back on his hip, using his big frame to shield and go get the football.
- Uses his hands well to create a little separation when corners want to be physical with him out of his breaks. His long arms and subtle strength allows him to create a little push out of his routes and separate initially.
- Snaps his head around quickly out of his breaks and exhibits elite range when asked to go snatch the football.
- Showcases a little quickness with the ball in his hands, side-stepping defenders and creating a bit after the catch.
- Will work in the run game. Has the length to gain leverage, stick to defenders and win through contact.
What I don’t like…
- Isn’t a real explosive self-starter. Takes him a bit to get going and reach top end speed.
- Isn’t a burner either, builds speed as he goes, but looks like a 4.6 guy on tape.
- Will allow corners to get into his frame initially off the line in press coverage and often isn’t as physical with his hands as your would expect.
- Will get upright off the line vs. press and too often looks to skip into his route. Would like to see him stay lower and more compact.
- Stutters his steps when trying to get out of his breaks in the three-step game and will advertise his routes a bit.
- Gets upright when running the inward breaking routes, making him susceptible to physical corners when trying to change directions.
- Never generates much separation out of his breaks on all areas of the field.
- Makes most of his plays with defensive backs draped all over him.
- Saw his production drop dramatically in 2011 due to a change at quarterback.
- Has had some issues with weight, looked a bit heavy coming into the 2011 season.
Overview: A big wide out who lacks ideal top end speed and isn’t a real explosive self-starter. He does display a little short area quickness for his size, however, not enough to consistently create legit separation off the line. Does a great job extending his long arms and adjusting to the football and the further down the field he can stride the tougher he is to cover.
Nevertheless, he strikes me as a guy who is always going to have a tough time creating separation for himself at the next level. Will still be able to make his fair share of plays because of his “plus” jump ball ability and will be a dangerous threat inside the red zone where he doesn’t have to run away from defenders.
Overall, Jeffery looks like a more dynamic version of Seahawks wide out Mike Williams who will be limited in the routes he can run (fade, slant, post, corner) at the next level. But can still be successful as the “Z” receiver where he will be put in motion and used a lot in two man routes with the tight end running vertical and adjusting to the throw. However, he’s never going to be overly productive due to his inability to separate consistently of his breaks.
Strengths: Phenomenal size and length – Accelerates to top-speed quickly, but will be hard pressed to run under a 4.5 – Makes some incredible catches, unreal hands – Adept at bringing hands up late and making the catch – Uses his body very well to box out defenders – Very tough to bring down after the catch – Very productive in 2010 – Incredibly high ceiling.
Weaknesses: Lacks a 2nd gear – Loses speed out of his breaks, doesn’t always gain true separation from college corners – Could sharpen up his routes – Makes some drops when fighting for extra yards before making the catch – Legitimate effort concerns arose after horrendous QB situation junior year – Should block much better with his size, inconsistent with his effort – Some off-season conditioning commitment concerns – Can have trouble going up and fighting for the ball over defenders – Doesn’t explode off the line of scrimmage to get separation.
Hands: Alshon Jeffery’s hands are right up there with the tops in this WR class. He has a large catch radius and plucks the ball out of the air. He very rarely allows the ball to get to his body, occasionally in traffic but it leads to very few drops. His concentration on tough catches is incredible as he routinely pulls off circus catches.
Route Running: Alshon Jeffery’s route running is the scariest part of his game and not in a good way. He is lazy in and out of breaks as he relies on his physicality too often to overmatch defenders. He doesn’t possess the burst to get separation on defenders which could scare off a lot of teams in this draft. He looked very disinterested at times in 2011 as you can see in his routes. The laziness in routes is a major red flag.
After the Catch: Jeffery lacks the speed and explosion to make short passes into big gains. He is tough to bring down one-on-one because of his size. He won’t make any miss with wiggle or blow by defenders at the next level.
Athleticism: Alshon Jeffery is a rare physical specimen. He may be the one of the most physically imposing receivers since Calvin Johnson. The difference comes with Jeffery’s lack of a second gear. He doesn’t have the speed to get separation in the NFL and his size will become a non-factor as teams adjust to his game. He has an outstanding vertical and could be a major threat in the redzone. He came into the 2011 season clearly out of shape and will have to answer some questions about his willingness to control his weight. I wonder about his functional strength as he seems to get jammed at the line fairly frequently.
Bottom Line: There’s just too many red flags with Jeffery to make him a top pick. He has elite size and leaping ability but lacks the top end speed and burst to be a top receiver in the NFL. The negatives on Jeffery are compounded by the fact that he came into the 2011 season out of shape and looked disinterested in playing at times. His production fell through the floor in 2011 due to spotty QB play but an elite receiver needs to overcome that instead of packing it in on their team.
Alshon Jeffery is a talented receiver prospect who has a lot of questions. Elite size. Great hands. Can jump. Not super fast. Doesn’t run great routes. Plays lazy. But had an amazing 2010 season, and some had him as the best receiver in the country, and the 2nd best receiver prospect behind Justin Blackmon. Those days are gone. Many questions about his maturity, about his desire, and whether he is simply too slow to get separation. His size is so intriguing, and he has the body type to be physical and make catches over the middle. He cannot run a full route tree, but I think within 20 yards, he can be a weapon who can use his body to break tackles. It all comes down to his work ethic. Will a slide in the draft humble him? Or does it not matter? If he falls to 64, I think you take him, because he can play on the outside, and would provide a nice complement to Nicks and Cruz. But any earlier is a risk, and 64 is a stretch. He could really take a fall.Interesting note from Shutdown Corner, which I think illuminates Jeffery really well:
The fact remains that Jeffery’s production tailed off badly in 2011, and that conditioning played a part in his problems. His career path could be decided by a Jets-Giants dichotomy. If he lands in a rumpus room program like the Jets, he could become a Mike Williams type. If he is drafted by a no-nonsense team like the Giants, he should develop into an excellent possession receiver and goal line receiving threat.
If the Giants are willing to put him into the locker room structure, make him work and learn, he could be a star. If he goes to a team that is kind of crazy, it could end badly. He might benefit greatly from a team like the Giants.