If former South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is drafted behind Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, and Kendall Wright, it will not be because of his production as a wide receiver during his college career. If NFL teams used only college production as the criterion for which order wide receivers should be drafted, then Alshon Jeffery would hear his name called before the other three.
Jeffery’s advantage over the other three wide receivers lies in the amount of value he provided to his quarterbacks; all box score and pass target statistics were gathered using South Carolina’s football website archives.
For Jeffery’s career, after his receiving statistics were removed from his quarterbacks’ statistics, his quarterbacks became .3 percent better in completion percentage (from 60.3 percent to 60.5 percent), 11.8 percent worse in yards per pass attempt (from 7.6 to 6.7), 12.0 percent worse in yards per completion (from 12.5 to 11.0) and 15.1 percent worse in touchdown percentage (from 5.3 percent to 4.5 percent).
The decreases Jeffery’s quarterbacks experienced in yards per pass attempt, yards per completion, and touchdown percentage marks were all statistically significant. With him, they were so much better that the only explanation can be that Jeffery was a truly great college wide receiver and will be great in the NFL as well.
Furthermore, Jeffery’s ceiling is just as high as Justin Blackmon since Jeffery posted a season in college football that rivals Blackmon’s 2010 season. Coincidentally, Jeffery’s monster season also came in the 2010 season.
During that season, after his statistics were removed from his quarterbacks’ statistics, they underwent a 1.5 percent decrease in completion percentage (from 64.8 percent to 63.8 percent), a 17.4 percent decrease in yards per pass attempt (from 8.6 to 7.1), a 15.9 percent decrease in yards per completion (from 13.2 to 11.1), and an 8.5 percent decrease in touchdown percentage (from 5.9 percent to 5.4 percent).
In Jeffery’s case, however, his monster 2010 season was not his only productive season in college football like Blackmon’s 2010 season. He was also a pretty valuable receiver in 2009 and 2011, which is why he put up better career value than Blackmon, who is his closest competition for best wide receiver among the three players.
Whichever NFL team is intelligent enough to draft Alshon Jeffery will be getting a player who will eventually take his place among the best wide receivers in the NFL. With a college career like the one Jeffery had, it is inevitable.
At the very least, the NFL team will be getting a wide receiver who will put up better receiving value in the NFL than will Blackmon, Floyd, and Wright.