The Minnesota Vikings just announced that they have signed Florida Atlantic alum and former Houston Texan Lestar Jean. Jean was an undrafted free agent who spent his entire first year with the Texans on injured reserve before becoming the teams fourth receiver in 2012 (receiving minor shoulder surgery beforehand).
Jean is a classic big-target receiver, weighing in at 212 pounds and measuring 6’3″ and is only 26 years old right now. His career includes one touchdown (a 54-yard reception) out of ten receptions while being active for 25 games. In the last two years, he’s had 297 snaps.
His combine wasn’t the most impressive, running a 4.62 40-yard dash (and a 1.62 ten-yard split) with a very slow 7.45 three-cone time and 4.43 shuttle. A vertical of 37.5″ speaks well to him, and despite his recorded speed could be a useful threat in the red zone as a hybrid TE/WR-type target in subpackages.
Alfie Crow at Big Cat Country wrote a scouting report of him in 2011 heading up to the draft:
PROS: Very good size for the wide receiver position. Very physical player who will willingly block and fights for the football. Didn’t time well at the NFL Combine, but looks faster than his 4.65 time. Got better each season at FAU including nearly doubling his output from junior to senior year. Nice redzone target with great leaping ability and adjusts to the ball well.
CONS: Not a very good route runner and predominantly just ran down the field to catch go routes in college. Still a very raw football player, but he has lots of potential to grow. More of a body catcher than a hands catcher and will drop some easy passes because he lets them into his body. Not very elusive and doesn’t offer very much as far as yards after the catch.
Dynasty League Football thought he could have been a big sleeper heading into this last season:
The Houston Chronicle has quoted wide receivers Coach Larry Kirksey to say, “The kid has really put time in as far as preparing himself. He has engulfed himself in the offense. He knows all three positions. His attention to detail is excellent. He’s got a ways to go, but so far we like what we see.” He also went on to compare the Andre Johnson and Lestar Jean situation to what he saw with Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice where after a while you couldn’t tell the difference between the two.
It seems like Jean’s best attribute may be his ability to learn and integrate new skills, though naturally the quote above is hyperbole.
I reached out to the Houston Texans blog, Battle Red Blog to get a feel for him. Their response:
— battleredblog (@battleredblog) April 8, 2014
Given that most of the concerns about his play were technical and that he saw the field for the Texans, there’s a good chance that a lot of this has been addressed though not completely resolved as he heads to Minnesota. At the very least, he’ll be interesting competition for the bottom of the roster, which includes Rodney Smith, Adam Thielen and Kamar Jorden right now.