Green Bay Packers Draft Profile: Justin Jefferson

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The 2020 NFL Combine has concluded and that means we are that much closer to the NFL Draft.  Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst is set to have another busy offseason with key free agents like Blake Martinez and Bryan Bulaga testing the market.  In addition, the Packers struggled last season at certain positions and are looking to upgrade where they can. The main position of need that is looking to be addressed early is the wide receiver core.  The Packers are looking to add a pass-catcher in both free agency and the draft, according to Gutekunst. This year’s wide receiver class is the best it has been in recent years. The Packers currently hold the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.  The perfect fit for that Matt LaFleur offense would be none other than LSU standout Justin Jefferson.  

 

Justin Jefferson/WR-LSU

Positives  

Justin Jefferson has unbelievable talent and would be the perfect fit for the Green Bay Packers.  At 6”3, 192 ibs., he has all the skills needed to be an instant playmaker. Jefferson is quick, running a 4.43 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, which was among the top ten fastest in the class.  He is also an exceptional route runner with elite hands, playing in arguably the toughest conference in college football. Jefferson is coming off a career year catching passes from Joe Burrow. He recorded over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns.  One of his games that stood out was the 2019 Peach Bowl against Oklahoma. Jefferson made his defenders look silly, racking up 227 yards and 4 touchdowns on 14 receptions. Jefferson is also explosive after the catch and displays a substantial amount of toughness.  

The Packers struggled to keep their receivers healthy throughout the course of the season to the point where they had to call up players from the practice squad like Allen Lazard, who certainly stepped up when they needed him.  The Packers were even without their star wideout in Davante Adams due to a turf toe injury that was more serious than they expected. Jefferson appeared in every game for the LSU Tigers this past season and has been healthy for well over the majority of his college career.  He is a player that is reliable and would be a perfect fit for that Matt LaFleur offense.  

 

Negatives

Justin Jefferson posted career numbers in his final year at LSU.  However, he did this on a super team with arguably the best quarterback in college football in Joe Burrow.  In 2018, Jefferson still recorded promising numbers with 875 yards and 5 touchdowns. In 2019, his numbers skyrocketed from Burrow giving him so many targets.  Jefferson went from 54 receptions in 2018 to 111 receptions in 2019. This is not a red flag for him, but a concern to watch closely at the next level to see how well he adapts to a team with a below average quarterback.  He can certainly handle the workload, but how well will Jefferson produce at the next level? When you are catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, he will make just about any receiver look good. Allen Lazard is a prime example of this.  However, Rodgers may not be around much longer and watching young guys like Jefferson develop under a new realm will definitely be something to watch.  

Jefferson is an exceptional route runner, but there are times where defenders will catch up to him quickly on the long ball. This is a minor issue, but he will have to adapt to playing with some of the most elite defenders in the game in order for him to create enough separation.   

 

NFL Comparison 

Justin Jefferson is a receiver that will make a name for himself in his first few years in the NFL.  Jefferson is a guy that displays similar traits to Cincinnati Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd. Boyd is not quite as fast as Jefferson, but they both are similar in size and athleticism.  Boyd is a guy that has quickly made a name for himself behind AJ Green, who has dealt with several injuries throughout his career. Jefferson is a guy that will give you 110% and will make an instant impact on almost any team he joins.  

 

The Green Bay Packers have several talented wide receivers to pick from in this 2020 draft class.  It is possible that Jefferson will fall to 30 depending on the teams picking prior. He would be the perfect guy to line up alongside Davante Adams, as he is reliable, athletic and displays a great amount of toughness.  

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