Jefferson had a very busy week this week becoming a National Champion on an LSU team that wrapped up a perfect 15-0 season. All that before declaring for the NFL Draft on Wednesday. Now, we will feature him on this edition of Meet the Prospect (high honor, I know).
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver put together an incredible season in a high-octane offense the likes of which we are accustomed to seeing in the Superdome with the New Orleans Saints. A fact that makes him a perfect pairing for the black and gold in the draft.
As Matt Moscona pointed out in an episode of Locked on LSU, former Saints offensive assistant Joe Brady spent a lot of time this season working with the wideouts. Translating a system that worked well for New Orleans over the past few seasons, including a 2018 where they scored 40 or more points five times, to the collegiate corps of Jefferson, Ja’mar Chase, and Terrace Marshall.
Jefferson caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards (second in school history) for a whopping 18 touchdowns, including an unforgettable performance against Oklahoma where he reeled in 4. The Saint Rose native would be right at home both on and off the football field as a New Orleans Saint.
- Outstanding and precise route-runner.
- Great agility with the ball in his hand.
- Impressive ball tracking.
- Hands catcher, as all of the LSU receivers were credited this year.
- Big frame with enough speed and savvy to be effective after the catch as well as down the field. An important quality for the Saints who may continue with Brees for now, but will eventually swap to a young passer with a larger arm.
- Team orientation. Always important in New Orleans. Played with a band of successful wideouts and celebrated anyone’s victories. Good attitude knowing he’d be behind a great in Michael Thomas.
- Willingness to serve multiple roles. he played in the slot for the most part at LSU, but is willing to line up where ever he needs to.
- Great instincts in zone coverage.
- Tough and steady, will take on contact to complete his catch
- Quick and instinctual mental processing the allows him to catch defenders off momentum and adjust routes within reason based on what the defense is showing.
Game speed. Sometimes on tape he looks to be slower than he actually is. Looking back at his Georgia game in the SEC Championship this was apparent. For the Saints, having a receiver that can play fast enough to be a factor downfield as well as turning short passes into big gains will be a must next season. All eyes on his 40 yard dash and agility scores in the upcoming combine.
It’s easy to mistake this pick as a homer take considering Jefferson’s roots in New Orleans. But this is a true fit. With the Saints in need of a wide receiver that can both compliment Michael Thomas, while still giving Brees a sure-handed possession aspect is almost the best case scenario. Jefferson worked very closely with Joe Brady and translating the Saints pass-happy offense would be an easy task for the Tiger.
It’s true that the Saints do not often draft LSU players, but no less than most teams with their state schools. Not to mention the Saints have brought in several LSU players over the last couple of years with Will Clapp selected in the draft and Travin Dural and Cyril Grayson both getting recent shots with the team. Not to mention Justin Jefferson’s brother, Rickey Jefferson who spent time with the Saints in 2018 before heading to Injured Reserve. No resentment for Tigers on Airline Dr.