Los Angeles Rams Surprised WR Van Jefferson by Drafting Him

Other than an informal meeting at the NFL Combine, the Los Angeles Rams kept their interest in former Gators wide receiver Van Jefferson quiet - even from Jefferson.
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Van Jefferson had zero clues that the Los Angeles Rams would be giving him a call and selecting him with the 57th pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 23-year-old former Florida Gators wide receiver was sitting in his living room, surrounded by family, when his phone rang with a California area code letting him know that he had been selected by the Rams. But if you'd have told him before the call that the Rams would be the team on the other end of the line, Jefferson might not have believed you.

"The last interaction I had with them was at the Combine actually. We had an informal meeting and I was meeting with the receiver coach and I kind of got a good feeling from him," Jefferson made note of to the Los Angeles media regarding his connection with the Rams during the draft process. 

"I didn't think that they would be a team that was interested in me, but it's something that you just don't know. You just don't know what's going to happen, it's so unknown."

Little did Jefferson know, the Rams weren't only interested in his services, but they valued him higher than any draft analyst and NFL reporter had let known. Despite previously being considered a third-round prospect, or lower, the Rams made Jefferson their second selection in the second round, just five spots after taking Florida State running back Cam Akers with their first pick of the night.

"I didn't have a FaceTime meeting with them throughout the whole process, so I didn't know that there was interest," Jefferson continued. "When I got that phone call, man, I was so happy. I was so excited."

Perhaps things would have been different and Jefferson would have had contact with the Rams if the sporting world wasn't all but shut down amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which forced teams into meeting with prospects over FaceTime instead of in-person during the 2020 draft process. 

Then again, maybe the Rams simply wanted to keep their cards close to their chest, as they were obviously impressed enough by Jefferson from their Combine meeting and on tape.

During his two seasons at Florida, Jefferson emerged as one of college football's most polished route-runners. Tallying 84 receptions, 1160 yards, and 12 touchdowns, Jefferson's production doesn't jump off of the page but his techniques to get open were always demanding of attention.

Earlier in the month, the Rams traded receiver Brandin Cooks and a future pick to the Houston Texans in exchange for the No. 57 overall selection. Los Angeles used that pick on the same position, zeroing in on Jefferson's talents. Now, in an offense led by head coach Sean McVay and boasting several veteran receivers for quarterback Jared Goff to throw to as well, Jefferson is excited to get to work and contribute immediately.

"I've never been to LA, so I'm excited to be there," Jefferson exclaimed. "Excited to learn from guys like[wide receivers] Cooper KuppRobert Woods, and I can't wait to get out there."