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Rookie D.C. Jefferson Adds Depth at TE for Arizona Cardinals

July 16th, 2013 at 5:32 AM
By Steve Smith

'University of Phoenix Stadium, Home of the Arizona Cardinals (3)' photo (c) 2009, Ken Lund - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals should get improved play from their tight end position this season with the addition of veteran quarterback Carson Palmer and the continued development of starter Rob Housler.

The Red Birds should also get a contribution from their final draft selection in the 2013 NFL Draft – D.C. Jefferson of Rutgers (the 219th overall pick). The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Jefferson is a project but he does have talent and solid upside and will be working with head coach Bruce Arians, an offensive specialist.

Let's take a look at Jefferson's strengths and weaknesses via nfl.com:

Strengths
Good athlete with good length. Flashes enough foot quickness to sit down in zones to present a big target, and often uses his long strides to cover a lot of ground down the seam, where his height presents a challenge to defenders. Also a willing blocker on the edge who is capable of bringing force out of his stance and attempts to sustain throughout the play.

Weaknesses
Not much production throughout his college career. Needs to prove his hands. Body control and positioning need to improve both as a blocker and receiver. Route running needs refinement. Use of leverage and hands in his blocking are not elite, and better defenders can slip off his attempts. Lacks explosion from his stance.

NFL Comparison
      Martellus Bennett of the Chicago Bears

Bottom Line
Jefferson red-shirted at quarterback in 2008, but showed so much potential learning the tight end before the 2009 season that he started 10 games that year. He still never saw a lot of throws his way and his long-legged frame makes him a strider and costs him leverage in blocking.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Bruce Arians, D.C. Jefferson, Football, NFL, Rob Housler

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