As the 2012 NFL Draft order clears up as the playoffs continue, we'll continue to get more and more mock drafts. SB Nation.com has released their latest mock draft and has an interesting pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars. I'll explain what I mean by interesting after the jump.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars, Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Jeffery's stock is going to rise between now and the draft. That process started with his 148-yard performance in the Capitol One Bowl. Jeffery has the tools to be elite, and last year most had him pegged as the top receiver in this draft. Jacksonville's current group of receivers would be reserves on most teams, and they need to get Blaine Gabbert someone to throw the ball to this season.
Jeffery is really the only receiver I would be OK with taking in the Top 10 for a few reasons. For one, he has excellent size at his position and is virtually uncoverable, even with a corner blanketed on him because of his combination of size, leaping ability, and hands. Jeffery is masterful at timing his jumps for passes and has soft hands, naturally plucking the ball from the air. The biggest concern for Jeffery is his conditioning and his overall speed. A picture of Jeffery surfaced prior to the 2011 season where he looked rather plump, but in games this season it looked like he trimmed quite a bit of his spare tire. Here's a picture of his from August of 2011.
He's a big receiver at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, but his speed leaves a lot to be desired. He's a long strider who builds speed as he goes, but he uses his hands well to get off the jam. If you go watch his Capital One Bowl performance, he absolutely dominated Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard, who's viewed as a Top 20 player in the draft. Jeffery's overall performance in 2011 had a big-time drop off from 2011, but South Carolina also had issues at quarterback and a change in their offensive system when the quarterback switch was made permanent. It's also worth noting Jaguars scouts have spent significant time at South Carolina practices and games in 2010 and 2011.
Here's a clip of Jeffery catching a hail mary touchdown in the Bowl game, which displays just how good he is at going up for the football, even in a crowd:
Can anyone tell he's my favorite wide receiver in the draft?