There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. They are expected to again have one of the best defenses in the NFL, they traded for a new quarterback in Matthew Stafford and have established weapons around him. While Stafford's new starting wide receivers consist of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and the veteran DeSean Jackson, there's another player you should keep an eye on: Van Jefferson.
Jefferson was drafted with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and caught just 19 passes for 220 yards and one touchdown in his first 16 games. He recorded his first career start in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers, however, and caught six passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. While Jefferson didn't put up monster numbers in his rookie season, Rams head coach Sean McVay has high expectations for him moving forward, and says that he has established himself in this organization.
"You can see he's really put the work in," McVay said, via ESPN. "He's come back establishing himself as a legitimate dude, a guy that we're counting on for big things and I think the future is so bright for this guy."
The Rams also drafted a wide receiver in the second round this year in Tutu Atwell, and while new is sexy, it's Jefferson who has had more time in this system and has done everything asked of him up to this point. Jefferson originally started off his collegiate career with the Ole Miss Rebels, but found success after transferring to Florida. In two seasons with the Gators, Jefferson caught 84 passes for 1,160 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's a versatile wideout who made an impact with the sideline in his rookie season -- both beating defenders down the field and then making impressive catches inbounds on the outside. Keep an eye on how McVay uses him in his second year.