South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was considered a potential top-five pick entering the 2011 college season after an 88-catch, 1,517-yard, nine-touchdown sophomore year. Jeffery’s stats fell to 49 receptions, 762 yards, and eight scores as a junior, and he declared for the draft on January 5.
Jeffery’s supporters cited quarterback musical chairs and defense’s double teams for his 2011 production drop. Appearing on a Wednesday conference call for the media, NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock said he saw something different.
“Alshon Jeffery does not separate,” said Mayock after watching Gamecocks tape. “What those guys run [at the Combine] is important. He needs to run somewhere in those mid-4.5s.”
Mayock said he’s heard whispers of Jeffery’s suspect conditioning, rumors that may have begun with this picture, believed to have been taken just before the 2011 college season. (Jeffery, No. 1, is on the far left.) For this year’s receiver class, Mayock has first-round grades on Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Baylor’s Kendall Wright, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, and LSU’s Rueben Randle.
He doesn’t have one on Jeffery.
“Big and fast is good,” Mayock explained. “Big and slow is bad. Bottom line is … he has got to run well.”