Is Alshon Jeffery in shape for the combine?

Is Alshon Jeffery in shape for the combine?

INDIANAPOLIS -- Few draft prospects will be under more intense scrutiny at the NFL scouting combine as South Carolina All-American wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Unconfirmed rumors have surrounded Jeffery, speculating that he'll report overweight and not test well this week. Here's what we've been hearing:

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said he doesn't grade Jeffery as a first-round draft pick, questioning his ability to separate from NFL defensive backs.

According to sources and a player who's been training with Jeffery near Tampa, Fla., the Gamecocks star wideout is actually in good shape. How fast he'll run the 40-yard dash remains unclear.

"Oh yeah, Alshon's in good shape," said Bethune-Cookman outside linebacker-defensive end Ryan Davis, who's been training with Jeffery in Florida. "He's looking very good out there. He's going to turn a lot of heads. He's a big receiver, but he's not fat. I laugh when I see that on TV. He's been smirking. I bet he runs a 4.5. He's way down in his weight. He's between 217 and 220 right now."

Listed at 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, Jeffery was rumored to be as heavy as 235 pounds.

"I don't know what he actually played at," Mayock said. "I've heard recently, and I know there were all those rumors out there that he put weight on. I don't really care what he weighs in at. If he's smart and his agent is smart, he'll come in at 220, in the best shape of his life, ready to run a 40.

"Alshon Jeffrey does not separate. He struggles getting off the line of scrimmage against quality press corners. Same with Mohamed Sanu. So what those guys run is important. To me he ought to come in no higher than 220. He needs to run somewhere in those mid 4.5. Worst-case scenario, you see the mid 4.5, 4.6, it's going to be a problem."

Jeffery's production took a hit during his senior year, finishing with 49 receptions for 762 yards and eight touchdowns as the Gamecocks' quarterbacking was inconsistent. He had a strong bowl game, though, against Nebraska as he caught four passes for 148 yards and a touchdown.

As a junior, Jeffery caught a career-high 88 passes for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns.

Past accomplishments aside, it's pivotal that Jeffery dispel the perception that he can't be a respetable intermedia to deep threat for an NFL team to invest a high draft pick in him. Jeffery has drawn comparisons to Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams, an imposing downfield target who lacks explosiveness.

That's not the NFL role model that Jeffery is shooting for.

"Big and fast is good," Mayock said. "Big and slow is bad. So, if he comes in for 235 and runs well, nobody's going to say a word. But the bottom line is either at the combine or the pro day, he has got to run well."

For more coverage of the NFL, go to profootball.scout.com.

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