Already boasting a trio of veterans in their wide receiver room in fourth-year pros Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds and eighth-year pro Robert Woods, the Los Angeles Rams are an exciting team for wide receiver Van Jefferson to start his NFL career.
"Just waiting on that call, it was amazing that I got the call today from the Rams," Jefferson said on a video conference Friday night. "I'm excited to come to the offices, learn from the guys that are there, get under a veteran's wing and learn the offense as quick as I can."
Not only was the phone call amazing, it came as somewhat of a surprise.
The former Florida standout said the last interaction he had with them was an informal meeting at this year's NFL Scouting Combine with wide receivers coach Eric Yarber.
"I kind of got a good feel from him, (but) I didn't think they would be a team that was interested in me," Jefferson said.
What got him on L.A.'s radar was likely a combination of factors.
Jefferson was an accomplished wide receiver in college, leading Florida in receiving in each of his two seasons in Gainesville as a graduate transfer. Across 48 games at Florida (2018-19) and Mississippi (2015-17), he caught 175 passes for 2,175 yards (12.3 average) and 16 touchdowns.
Most notably, he also has an NFL pedigree. His father, Shawn, played 13 years in the league and is currently the wide receivers coach for the New York Jets.
"Just hard work, dropping your weight, getting out of cuts, that's something that my dad has taught me ever since I was a little kid," Jefferson said, when asked what he learned from his dad. "I think that's something I harp on, that I take pride in, my route running. Just being an all-around receiver, man, just doing everything a receiver does and being the best player you can be."
Jefferson missed this year's NFL Scouting Combine due to a foot injury, but he said he's currently "90 percent." He went through medicals Monday and Tuesday of combine week and was preparing to run Wednesday when medical personnel flagged him down to do an MRI which later revealed a Jones fracture in his right foot – a break between the base and shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone of the foot.
He said he wasn't worried about it affecting the way teams might view him.
"I just have to leave it in God's hands," Jefferson said. "I woke up earlier this morning, just praying to God and asking him to show me His way, put his helping hand on me. Practice patience, man. Everything happens for a reason."
Not only did Jefferson have faith, he had confidence. In a wide receiver class widely regarded by experts as exceptionally deep, Jefferson saw 11 go ahead of him, but he knows what he can bring to the table.
"A lot of great receivers that got to hear their name called, but I'm just here to prove I can be the best player I can be," Jefferson said.
This is the realization of a lifelong dream for Jefferson, who can't wait to get started. He recognized the California phone call when the Rams called Friday night, but didn't know who it was. But once he did...
"It instantly clicked in my head, 'man, that offense goes,'" Jefferson said. "I know going in, I'm going to be able to catch balls from Jared Goff and play alongside Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. It's just a great opportunity, a great situation I'm going into, so I'm excited about it."
For all the latest draft news, visit www.therams.com/draft.
Welcome to LA, Van Jefferson! Meet the wide receiver from University of Florida.