When Justin Jefferson was picked No. 22 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, it was clear the Minnesota Vikings had plans for the 21-year-old to make an impact.
Many pundits touted Jefferson as the most pro-ready wide receiver in his draft class and with the departure of Stefon Diggs, his skill set and situation spell the perfect storm for production, according to Bleacher Report, which listed seven rookies that have the best chance to have breakout seasons.
“Jefferson was widely hailed as one of the most pro-ready wideouts in the class after his junior season at LSU. He put up 1,540 yards and 18 scores while playing the second option to Ja’Marr Chase, at least in terms of yardage.
Now Jefferson will play a similar safety-net role for the stat-happy Vikings as the second option to Adam Thielen with Stefon Diggs gone. Diggs’ absence leaves a 94-target hole, and Kirk Cousins has attempted at least 540 passes with 4,000-plus yards in four of his last five seasons. And don’t forget Dalvin Cook in the backfield.
Given the attention drawn elsewhere, Jefferson should be unusually free for production compared to other rookie wideouts and has the ability to win his matchups and secure his role early.”
Jefferson was the only wide receiver on the list that included three other members of the 2020 national champion Tigers in Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
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Jefferson Snubbed on Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidates List
Despite the high praise, Pro Football Focus isn’t sold on Jefferson. As one of the top sites in football analytics, PFF released its Top 10 Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates list this season and named five wide receivers — none of whom were Jefferson.
PFF ranked Jefferson the ninth-best wide receiver in the 2020 draft class:
“We here at PFF aren’t nearly as high on Justin Jefferson as other scouts and media outlets for three primary reasons: (1) most of his production was schemed through underneath routes or from finding a hole in the zone (815 such yards led the FBS by nearly 100), (2) he faced press coverage on just 17% of his routes in 2019 …read more