Eagles Draft 2014: Jeff Janis Could Be a Sleeper Prospect at Wide Receiver | Eagles Addict

The Eagles are doing their due diligence on many of the top rated Wide Receiver prospects for the 2014 draft.  As far as pre-draft visits or private workouts go, they’ve shown interest in top prospects Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Marqise Lee and Cody Latimer.

In fact, so far Wide Receiver is the only position in which the Eagles have brought in candidates that are considered to be first round prospects.  They’ve yet to bring in a defensive prospect with a first round grade.

All the attention the Eagles have been giving to Wide Receivers leads one to believe they are planning to take one in the first round.  Of course, it could also be a smokescreen as part of the pre-draft NFL game of subterfuge.

In any case, the Eagles are likely to select a Wide Receiver at some point in the draft.  Some people think they could even select two (one early and one mid-round).  I have my doubts about the logic of spending 1/3 of their total draft picks at this position, but we should be prepared for anything and everything.

Assuming the Eagles don’t make any trades, stick with their six current draft picks and bypass a receiver in the first three rounds, Jeff Janis could make for a nice fourth or fifth round pick.  I’m not saying he would be “the answer” for any perceived hole in the WR corps, but he could be a steal…

WR Jeff Janis, 6′ 3″ 219 lbs, Saginaw Valley State

Jeff Janis

Photo: Duane Burleson/Associated Press

In his last two seasons, Janis has posted 189 catches for 3,207 yards and 31 TDs.  He also added five rushes for 64 yards and three more scores.

Those are pretty impressive numbers, but NFL scouts will say that small school prospects need to dominate their position to even be considered for a mid-round draft grade.  When you combine his production with his performance at the Scouting Combine, he certainly seems to have cemented himself as a solid mid-round prospect.

Combine results:

40-yd. Dash – 4.42 seconds
Bench Press – 20 reps (top performer)
Vertical Jump  – 37.5 inches
Broad Jump – 123 inches
3 Cone Drill – 6.64 seconds (top performer)
20 yd. Shuttle – 3.98 seconds

The only knock on his measurables was his hand size, which were measured at just nine inches.  Those are small hands for a Wide Receiver, but you know who else has nine inch hands?  Cordarrelle Patterson, and he was a first round pick last year.

Here are a few scouting reports I could find on Janis…

From NFL.com -

Overview

Two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Back of the Year and two-time first-team AP Little All-American (2012-13) pick. 2013: Led Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) in most major receiving categories after posting 83 receptions for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns. 2012: Started in all 11 games, and his 1,635 receiving yards were the most in Division II. 2011: Played in 11 games and started eight. Led team with 968 receiving yards. 2010: Played in 10 games and started six. 2009: Redshirted.

Analysis

Strengths

Exceptional measurables and leaping ability — will test through the roof. Accelerates into routes quickly and can separate vertically and uncover underneath working short-to-intermediate zones. Terrific production — carves up lesser competition and creates chunk plays. Good red-zone target. Exceptional work ethic. Outstanding football character. Very passionate about the game.

Weaknesses

Has very small, inconsistent hands — will cradle the ball and use his body. Is not a nuanced route runner. Does not attack the ball in the air and will give up some break points. Not strong after the catch and will look for a soft landing spot. Can be fazed by traffic. Regularly faced Division II competition. Not a consistent blocker — does not play to his size.

Draft Projection

Rounds 4-5

Bottom Line

A Division II standout with rare measurables and production, Janis must prove that he can translate his small-school success to the field against better competition.

STRENGTHS: Looks the part with a tall, muscular body type. Has worked hard to fill out his frame. Fleet of foot with very good build up speed to accelerate away from defenders. Controlled routes and shifts his momentum well with smooth footwork in/out of his breaks.
Good hesitation to sell patterns. Good tracking skills and judgment on deep throws. Solid functional strength for the position, making it a chore for tacklers to finish him off. Strong competitor with an intrepid, fearless approach to the game. Very tough and holds onto the ball after jarring hits.

Ambitious worker with strong intangibles and excellent character on and off the field. Try-hard player who gets the most out of his ability. Productive resume (37 career starts) with back-to-back 1,500+ receiving yard seasons the past two years. Holds the school record for single-season receiving yards (1,635), single-game receiving yards (300) and single-game catches (18).WEAKNESSES: Marginal initial burst and needs a few steps to get back up to full speed after gearing down. Bad habit of rounding some routes and will try to freelance too much. Will have some double-catches and fight the ball at times. Hand/eye coordination appears to very average. Limited after the catch and lacks suddenness in space to create much separation. Not the most consistent in traffic. Limited experience as a return man on special teams. Career production and experience came against a lower level of competition.

–Dane Brugler

Janis participated at the Senior Bowl and by most accounts had a solid week of practice against better competition.  However, he didn’t stand out in the actual game but did draw praise from Falcons head coach Mike Smith:

“Every year, there’s guys that come from Division II and Division III schools that get an opportunity to get in front of NFL personnel people and NFL coaches and make teams, and he’s done a nice job,” Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, the coach of the North team, told the Detroit Free Press. “I know he’s caught the attention of our coaching staff.

Also, there’s this little tidbit from Mike Mayock…

“Janis, I’ve got a fifth-round grade on,” NFL Network analyst
Mike Mayock said on a conference call Tuesday. “Good speed, just have to learn
to run routes a little bit (and) create separation with that speed.”

There isn’t much by way of “tape” to look at, but here is a good YouTube video of his 2013 “highlight” tape.  After watching all 10 minutes of it, here are my brief takeaways (based only on this clip):

- Has good RAC skills
- Isn’t afraid to go over the middle
- Can make catches in traffic
- Runs a decent slant route
- Can be a deep threat
- Is a threat on reverses
- Doesn’t catch with his hands/too many “body” catches
- Doesn’t go up to get the ball despite having a good vertical jump

I realize a 10 minute highlight tape breakdown is not nearly enough to get a good idea on a player, but it’s about all we have.

Janis has the size Kelly likes and by all accounts has the intangibles he prefers as well.  He also has the production and athleticism to match.

And if that’s not enough, how about the fact that he majored in “Exercise Science” in college? Sounds like a Chip kind-of guy!

The last time the Eagles drafted a player in the mid rounds from Saginaw Valley State was Todd Herremans and that turned out pretty good.


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2 Responses to Eagles Draft 2014: Jeff Janis Could Be a Sleeper Prospect at Wide Receiver

  1. LouA says:

    their is a #8 WR at PS who showed a lot of promise if available but the Eagles never look close to home for any player. It’s a wonder they went for Westbrook when they he graduated.

    • I would be thrilled with Allen Robinson! But, it’s questionable if he’ll even be on the board when the Eagles pick in Round 2. I did a mock draft a little while ago where I had the Eagles trading back with Minny and taking Robinson with their first pick.

      Westbrook was the only “good” local player they drafted. It’s easy to forget guys like Jaiquawn Jarrett (2011, 2nd round, Temple), Tony Hunt (2007, 3rd round, Penn State), Andy Hall (2004, 6th round, Delaware) and LJ Smith (2003, 2nd round, Rutgers).

      I hope Robinson is one of the guys on their radar if they’re intent on drafting a WR early.

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