What can we anticipate from Justin Jefferson in Yr 2 after his sensational rookie season?

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Justin Jefferson simply acquired achieved having among the finest rookie seasons any vast receiver has ever had. Regardless of not turning into an everyday starter till Week 3, Jefferson completed the yr with 88 catches for 1,400 yards (a rookie document) and 7 touchdowns. 

Given his age (he turned 22 years previous in June), the Vikings‘ funding in him (he was a first-round decide, No. 22 general), the depth chart (he counts solely Adam Thielen amongst his goal competitors), and his expertise (he is an excellent route runner who confirmed he’s greater than able to taking part in each within the slot and out vast, and successful on the discharge, on the stem, and on the catch level), it is pure to imagine he’ll simply maintain getting higher. 

Our personal Pete Prisco has very excessive hopes for Jefferson this season, for instance. “He’s going to be the perfect receiver within the Nationwide Soccer League by the top of this yr,” stated Prisco of the dynamic receiver who returned to apply Monday for the primary time since Aug. 6 after injuring his shoulder. “I feel Jefferson is the actual deal. His receivers coach, Keenan McCardell, stated by the top of this season, Jefferson would be the greatest receiver within the NFL. You possibly can take it to the financial institution.”

It is time for the Vikings to make their transfer within the NFC North. Can Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Prepare dinner and Justin Jefferson get the job achieved? Obtain the CBS Sports activities app to get the newest headlines from our group of NFL consultants. In the event you’ve already downloaded the CBS Sports activities app, favourite the Vikings proper now to get all the highest headlines out of Minnesota. 

Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback (and All Issues Coated co-host) Bryant McFadden echoed Prisco’s sentiments, saying Jefferson’s ability set is exclusive in that he runs the gridiron like he is taking part in basketball and “it is arduous to check a man like him as a defensive again.”

“Finest receiver within the NFL” is definitely a excessive airplane to succeed in. Does Jefferson have the expertise to get there? Presumably. The chance? In all probability, though he does nonetheless play for a comparatively low-volume passing group that additionally performs at a gradual tempo. 

However he is additionally not the primary vast receiver to have a fantastic rookie season and enter his sophomore marketing campaign with sky-high expectations. There are many gamers from the current (and not-so-recent) previous to which we are able to evaluate him, to see what may be an inexpensive baseline of manufacturing for Jefferson in Yr 2. To do that, we took a have a look at the highest 20 rookie seasons in catches, from Anquan Boldin to Joey Galloway, and peered into the longer term at what they did throughout their second yr within the NFL. 

Participant Yr 1 Rec Tgt Yds TD Yr 2 Rec Tgt Yds TD
Anquan Boldin 2003 101 165 1377 8 2004 56 104 623 1
Michael Thomas 2016 92 121 1137 9 2017 104 149 1245 5
Odell Beckham Jr. 2014 91 130 1305 12 2015 96 158 1450 13
Eddie Royal 2008 91 129 980 5 2009 37 79 345 0
Terry Glenn 1996 90 167 1132 6 1997 27 49 431 2
Justin Jefferson 2020 88 125 1400 7 2021 ? ? ? ?
Jarvis Landry 2014 84 112 758 5 2015 110 166 1157 4
Michael Clayton 2004 80 122 1193 7 2005 32 55 372 0
CeeDee Lamb 2020 74 111 935 5 2021 ? ? ? ?
Kelvin Benjamin 2014 73 145 1008 9 2015 63 118 941 7
Gary Clark 1985 72 926 5 1986 74 1265 7
Amari Cooper 2015 72 130 1070 6 2016 83 132 1153 5
Keenan Allen 2013 71 105 1046 8 2014 77 121 783 4
Dwayne Bowe 2007 70 116 995 5 2008 86 157 1022 7
Marques Colston 2006 70 115 1038 8 2007 98 143 1202 11
Randy Moss* 1998 69 124 1313 17 1999 80 137 1413 11
Willie Snead 2015 69 101 984 3 2016 72 104 895 4
Mike Evans 2014 68 122 1051 12 2015 74 148 1206 3
Cris Collinsworth 1981 67 1009 8 1982 49 700 1
Joey Galloway 1995 67 133 1039 7 1996 57 121 987 7
Common All 78 126 1085 8 All 71 121 955 5

It is notable that there was a slight drop-off from Yr 1 to Yr 2 amongst this group, a lot of it unsurprisingly pushed by damage. To have nearly as good (and even near nearly as good) a rookie season as Jefferson did, it’s a must to keep wholesome. Nevertheless it’s powerful to remain wholesome yearly within the NFL, so it is not all that surprising that a number of of those gamers (Boldin and Glenn, for instance) handled varied points that saved their numbers down within the yr following their rookie breakout. A few of them (like Royal and Clayton) simply couldn’t repeat the outcomes they’d in that first yr, which ended up being the perfect of their respective careers. 

Some managed to enhance on their debut seasons, like Thomas and Beckham. That duo at present ranks amongst simply 9 gamers in trendy NFL historical past (i.e. for the reason that AFL-NFL merger) to start their profession with back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard receiving seasons. The others are Colston, Cooper, Evans, Moss, A.J. Brown, A.J. Inexperienced, and John Jefferson.

It is tempting to lump Justin Jefferson in with that group, as a result of his expertise is so immense. It is also value noting that even when he experiences the identical drop-off as the common receiver within the group of 20 above, he’d nonetheless end his second season with 87 catches for 1,349 yards and 4 touchdowns (assuming he stays wholesome and after accounting for the seventeenth sport this season). That is nonetheless, uh, actually good. If that counts as a step backward, I feel the Vikings could be simply nice with the kind of participant he is turning into. 

There is no doubt that Jefferson’s ceiling is immense, and he has the potential to enhance upon what he did final yr. However progress is not at all times linear, and even when he takes a small step backward or laterally, he is nonetheless acquired the ability set to be a very terrific participant. 



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