Reason III: His best ability is his availability
One of Van Jefferson’s greatest, and perhaps least discussed, abilities is his availability. Through two seasons, two postseasons, Jefferson has answered the bell each and every occasion. That works out to 33 regular-season games and six postseason games. He is so dedicated to football, that he had to be informed after the LA Rams won Super Bowl LVI that his wife was delivering their newborn son.
That dependability is huge for any NFL team but was vital to the Rams offense in 2021 as the team struggled to keep receivers off the bench and the Injured Reserve list. It was Jefferson’s presence that shouldered some of the burden upon Cooper Kupp throughout the season.
It was also Jefferson who stretched defenses throughout the season. He was neck and neck with veteran WR DeSean Jackson early in the year, but after Jackson left, that role fell solely upon him. He continued to deliver, putting up 30+ yards against the Arizona Cardinals (80-yarder in the first game), against the Chicago Bears (67-yarder), against the Houston Texans (68-yarder), and the Green Bay Packers (79-yarder).
He brings it all, at an affordable price
The guy is more than a one-trick pony. His is more than a go route. He is such a dangerous weapon because he has the speed to threaten deep, but runs clean/crisp routes that can threaten defenses on short and intermediate routes as well. And for those offenses that are building around a young strong-armed quarterback, he is the ideal weapon as he is young and rapidly developing.
Now the question that remains to be answered is whether or not the new addition of WR Allen Robinson is an addition or an intended replacement for an existing receiver on the Rams roster. If the move was aimed at adding only, then the Rams have one of the most dangerous receiver groups in the NFL with or without extending Odell Beckham Jr. If the Rams add Odell Beckham Jr. as well, then the Rams will find a very difficult time of how to distribute the football.
Rumors abound right now for teams’ interest in LA Rams receivers. While most focus upon Robert Woods, I suspect that the Rams would be more willing to trade Van Jefferson and that Jefferson would be an incredible value for the acquiring team. He is versatile, can run, block, run routes, catch passes, and stretch defenses. He is durable. Most of all, he is a young and very affordable receiver who can develop with a young quarterback.
I feel strongly that Van Jefferson can reach the 1000 receiving yards plateau in 2022. I am far less confident that he will do so as a member of the LA Rams this year. What do you think? Will Jefferson break out in 2022? Will he do so for the Rams?