Carolina Panthers: Five draft targets in the CFP National Championship

Isaiah Simmons of the Clemson Tigers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Isaiah Simmons of the Clemson Tigers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Justin Jefferson of the LSU Tigers
Justin Jefferson of the LSU Tigers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Justin Jefferson, WR – LSU

Two weeks after posting the biggest game of his career, Justin Jefferson will look to pick up where he left off against Clemson on Monday night. Jefferson caught 14 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns in LSU’s record-breaking offensive onslaught against Oklahoma in the CFP semifinals. A beneficiary of Burrow’s breakout season, Jefferson has become a legitimate NFL talent over the past 12 months.

While he isn’t necessarily a “top” receiving prospect, Jefferson is certainly an intriguing talent with plenty of upside at the professional level. He currently ranks third in the country in receptions and receiving yards, and is tied for the national lead with 18 touchdowns. As far as a potential future with the Panthers goes, DJ Moore proved in 2019 that he is capable of being a WR1; however, behind him the Carolina receiving corps becomes very uncertain. Curtis Samuel had a fine season and continues to show potential, but had nowhere near the breakout campaign most expected. Jarius Wright is at best a third receiver and will be 31 by the end of next season. If Rhule hopes to revitalize what was a disappointing passing game in 2019, a consistent receiving threat behind Moore would certainly help.

Going back to The Draft Network’s scouting report, Jefferson is a good route-runner who can beat man-to-man coverage and often gets defenders to bite on quick double-moves. He has decent size and good speed and can pluck the ball out of mid-air. Like Moore and Samuel, he’s a threat to pick up yards after the catch, but isn’t great at creating separation. Jefferson would be a bit of a gamble for the Panthers, but if he’s available in the second or even the third round, the LSU product is unquestionably a risk worth taking.