Summary: Jeffery has had an interesting draft saga over the past few months. First, he decided to skip his senior season coming off a disappointing year as a junior. Other than the bad year, the bigger issue for Jeffery's draft stock has been his weight. He played the 2011 season in the 230s. As a result, he was slow and unable to get separation. That is the big question mark surrounding him entering the NFL.
Jeffery had a massive year in 2010. He dominated the SEC with 88 receptions for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns despite playing with an average quarterback, Stephen Garcia, and an offense that featured a strong running game with freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore.
However, as indicated earlier, Jeffery struggled to get open and South Carolina did not have good quarterback play to help him in 2011. He notched only 49 receptions for 762 yards and eight touchdowns. He had only one 100-yard receiving game this season, the Capital One Bowl, hauling in four passes for 148 yards and a touchdown against Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard. He toasted Dennard for a 78-yard reception on a deep post, but Dennard caught Jeffery from behind to prevent a touchdown. His score came when he out jumped a pack of players for a Hail Mary touchdown as the first half expired.
Jeffery weighed in lighter than expected at the Combine at 216 pounds. He shed around 20 pounds after the season in preparation for the pre-draft workouts. Jeffery decided not to work out at the Combine for some reason, but he had a 40-yard dash time of 4.48 at his Pro Day, with some teams clocking him in the 4.5s. NFL teams are wondering what his playing weight will be and whether he will have the speed to get open against NFL defensive backs.
Those are valid questions that are tough to predict. What is known is that Jeffery will be a big target who could help move the chains in the NFL. He will go across the middle and make tough catches in traffic. It is clear that Jeffery can take hits and dish out some of his own. He attacks the football and is physical with defensive backs. His height and leaping ability make him a dangerous red-zone weapon as well. Jeffery has big, strong hands and should be reliable in catching passes. He also is a good blocker in the ground game. Enhancing his toughness even further is the fact that he played with a broken hand this season.
It looks like Jeffery will be a second-day pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, likely a second-rounder. NFL teams can safely assume that he will be a solid possession receiver, but should not be expected to become an elite receiver.
Player Comparison: Mike Williams. Jeffery's game is similar to Williams of the Seattle Seahawks. Both are big receivers who have to keep their weight down in order to be effective. Jeffery and Williams can both use their size to make tough catches over defensive backs. Neither of them burns corners with speed, but as possession receivers, they are adept at making contested catches. Jeffery isn't quite as big as Williams, but they have a similar game, and Jeffery could turn into a receiver like Williams in the NFL. Williams was high first-round pick in 2005 by the Detroit Lions. Jeffery won't go that high and looks like a second-rounder.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, Jacksonville, Tennessee, New York Jets, San Francisco
Jeffery has a few landing spots in the second round. The Vikings need a big receiver to replace Sidney Rice. Jeffery would be a perfect fit for Minnesota. Jacksonville obviously has a huge need at the position, and Jeffery could be a good possession receiver for Blaine Gabbert.
The Titans need a receiver to pair with Kenny Britt, and Jeffery could be a good complement. The Jets are looking to replace Plaxico Burress. Jeffery would bring the size and red-zone element that Burress provided for New York's offense. The 49ers signed some veteran receivers, but could use more youth at the position.
Jeffery has pre-draft visits with the Vikings, Titans and Jets.
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