D.J. Jefferson extending for the endzone.
D.C. Jefferson wants to prove he’s more than a blocking tight end.
After the East-West game, Jefferson said he “caught [scouts] off guard” by “making catches they didn’t think I could make” (via www.nj.com).
After Jefferson’s solid performance at the Shrine game raised his draft stock, he injured himself early at the NFL Combine (according to USA Today). That injury might cancel out the bump he received in draft projections after the East-West game.
Jefferson should be a solid third-day pick. He has a lot to offer, and a team that gambles on him being more than a blocking tight end could be rewarded handsomely.
Full Name: Lequan Darrell Jefferson Birthday: May 7, 1989
Hometown: Winter Haven, FL
High School: Winter Haven High School
Major: Not listed
Jefferson came to Rutgers as a quarterback (his nickname “D.C.” stands for Daunte Culpepper), but he was converted to tight end in the 2009 preseason. He had a redshirt year under his belt and a large frame, both of which helped him become a starter in his second game as a tight end.
Jefferson making a tough catch in traffic.
Jefferson’s statistics show a tight end who is primarily a blocker and relatively slow even when he does catch the ball. If you take out a 46-yard reception in 2009 and a 53-yarder in 2010, his career yards per catch average would be solidly around 10.
The upside is that Jefferson improved his reliability in the passing game every year. He had more catches each season he played. If that progress continues, Jefferson could be a decent receiver in the NFL.
G REC YDS AVG TD
2009 12 5 108 21.6 0
2010 12 10 166 16.6 1
2011 13 12 118 9.8 0
2012 13 20 168 8.4 1
*All statistics provided by College Football Statistics.
Jefferson has the ability to elevate above defenders.
Weight: 255 pounds
Arm Length: 34 1/4”
Hand Size: 10 1/8”
40-yard dash: Not available
Broad Jump: Not available
Vertical Jump: Not available
Pro Day Results (via CBS Sports)
40-yard dash: 4.97 seconds
Broad jump: 119.0 inches
Vertical jump: 32.5 inches
Though Jefferson hopes that teams will see a potential pass-catching tight end, his Pro Day results seem to suggest otherwise.
His 4.97 40-yard dash is closer to an offensive tackle than a tight end in today’s athletic NFL. He simply won’t cause matchup problems with that sort of speed—he could be guarded by a linebacker easily and probably couldn’t get separation.
The pectoral injury that kept Jefferson out at the NFL Combine also kept scouts from seeing how many times he could bench press 225. It’s a good bet that he would’ve posted an above-average number for a tight end, in line with his abilities as a blocker.
*All information provided by www.NFL.com unless otherwise specified.
Jefferson got his nickname from his similarities as a quarterback to Daunte Culpepper.
Jefferson was a top-20 high school quarterback prospect, according to NFL.com.
NFL.com also reported that Jefferson “never saw a lot of throws his way.” He still managed to improve, and maybe with more opportunities could be a solid receiver. Jefferson certainly thinks so.
Jefferson played for four tight ends coaches and three offensive coordinators at Rutgers (via www.nj.com). He managed to develop in a foreign position nonetheless.
Speed and route-running are two of the biggest concerns surrounding Jefferson.
“It’s hard to throw to the tight end when you have [wide receivers] like that running 4.3s and 4.4s and can catch the ball,” Jefferson said (via www.nj.com).
He makes a good point, but that’s not going to change at the next level.
Jefferson has a lot of upside, even though he didn’t produce at a high level at Rutgers. A team could get a huge return if they took him in the seventh round or so. A comparison to Matt Spaeth (slow, decent hands and great blocking) is most realistic.