Arizona Cardinals Potential Draft Pick: A.J. Jefferson

A.J. Jefferson, CB, Fresno State

Height and Weight: 6'0, 190 lbs

History

During his time at Fresno State, Jefferson was a starter on defense and a special teams standout. He returned three punts in 2007 and 2008 for touchdowns and was one of the most dynamic kick returners in college at that time. Opponents caught on his senior year and he didn't score a single touchdown. As a starter on defense, Jefferson had a career-high 36 tackles his senior year. He had 12 passes defensed in 45 career games but no interceptions. It was disappointing that his play-making skills on special teams couldn't translate to the defensive side of the ball.

Combine Results

Drill 40-Yard Vertical Jump 20-Yard
Shuttle
60-Yard
Shuttle
Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
Result 4.43 44 4.0 11.02 10'6" 6.72

Projected Round: 4th

Strengths

Jefferson greatly improved his draft stock after the combine, shooting up boards after landing first in the vertical jump, the 20-yard shuttle, the 60-yard shuttle, and 3rd in the broad jump and 3 cone drill. He also clocked an unofficial 4.43 40-yard dash, considerable fast for being 6'1. Jefferson shows good agility and straight line speed to close in on the ball if thrown in his area. He shows a very good effort in pursuit, and he takes a good angle on the ball the first time around. He will rarely give up on a play. His hips are fluid and his feet are quick enough to turn and cover a receiver down field. Jefferson rarely gets caught out of position and can make up for open space with his speed. Jefferson has the size and strength to wrap up most receivers. When it comes to contact, he won't shy away and often makes an attempt to strip the ball.

Weaknesses

When it comes to leaving everything on the field, Jefferson his often the last to do it. He'll often allow receivers to catch the ball before making a tackle, rather then going for the ball. He doesn't time his jumps well and has shown no promise that he has good hands. He has zero interceptions in 22 career starts. He'll peek in the backfield at times and will get beat as a result. On running plays, he'll avoid blocks and will often stand around a pile rather then get in the action.  He's not an explosive hitter and needs to work on jamming receivers to the outside.

Overview

In short, Jefferson is a better athlete then football player. That's not to say that he doesn't have the potential to be  steal in the later rounds of the draft. The Cardinals have gambled on two corners with potential already before(Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler) and it's worked to perfection so far. He could also immediately come in and return kickoffs and would be a reliable threat to opponents. With the combine results in, Jefferson's stock is sure to rise but if he's available, the Cardinals should consider using a late round pick on the young prospect. What are your thoughts on A.J. Jefferson?

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