The Pittsburgh Steelers need offensive help, and this isn’t a well-kept secret. The black-and-gold offense didn’t even put up 28 points throughout the entire 2019 campaign, and while that was without Ben Roethlisberger it still was as bad as it sounds.
A general consensus is the Steelers will be looking to go very offense-heavy in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the wide receiver position is a place they could add talent. They interviewed several prospects at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, and you can add another to the list.
Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson met with the Steelers informally:
The Steelers, who usually carry 6 wide receivers, will have some potential spots open for competition. If you look at their current depth chart there are three players who can be viewed as “locks”:
Outside of those three players, the other three are up for grabs. And a rookie very well might be in the mix to snag a roster spot.
Could Van Jefferson be that guy? For those who don’t know, here is a synopsis of what Jefferson does well, per his NFL Draft Profile:
Versatile, skilled receiver who has played all three receiver spots but is likely to do most of his damage from the slot. Jefferson has average size and won’t run away from quality man coverage, but he will separate from it with premium route-running and unique looks and angles that keep cornerbacks on their heels. He needs to prove he can deal with NFL size and strength banging on him at the catch point. Jefferson is a pro-ready receiver whose skill level and competitive nature outweigh average explosiveness and he should find quick work as a WR3/WR4.
- Possesses uncommon competitive streak and attitude
- Father is long-time NFL receiver and NFL receivers coach
- Above-average release against press
- Alters speed and angles to keep cornerbacks off-balance
- Agility and foot quickness for complex routes
- Hand usage is effective and subtle at the top of the route
- Attention to detail allows him to separate underneath
- Unique feel for leverage and works hard back to the throw
- Uses frame and strong hands to protect the catch point
- Drew 11 penalties since 2018, including three interferences by Auburn in 2019
- Gets the ball upfield quickly after catch
- Production has been relatively modest
- Doesn’t have same vertical push on comeback routes
- Lacks top-end speed to threaten vertically
- Just four catches over 20 yards against SEC competition since 2018
- More shifty than sudden at times
- Can improve in creating late space at catch point
- Needs to expand threat range to battle route-squatters
- Won’t spring the running game with blocking ability
What do you think of Jefferson as a prospect? Do you like him being in the Steelers’ system? When, which round, would you consider the team drafting him? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!