Justin Jefferson: The NFL's Best Rookie Receiver
The 2020 NFL draft was hailed as maybe the best all time wide receiver draft in terms of raw talent available for teams to pick. Twelve games in, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has emerged as the class of the position group from this draft.
Justin Jefferson has separated from his peers in both efficiency and production. The Vikings picked the 5th receiver in the draft and hit the jackpot. Other GM's should be punching air that they let a bona fide stud slip right through their hands. Jefferson is everything we were told Jerry Judy would be, Henry Ruggs is his closest rival but his total yardage pales in comparison to Jefferson. 1078 total yards receiving for Jefferson while Ruggs has only put up 414 total yards receiving. Denzel Mims might be his best chance at an actual rival as he is posting respectable production in an utter mess of a situation, Trevor Lawrence and an offensive genius may see him rival Justin Jefferson for years to come. All his other draft mates are a step below him in terms of production.
Jefferson is a long term piece for the Vikings and is an actual upgrade over previous star wide receiver Steffon Diggs (who is changing life for Josh Allen). Justin Jefferson is a great deep ball threat(17 Yards Per Reception), Jefferson is a smooth route runner and has 7 TD's on the year which is good enough to rank in the top 20 overall for his position in the NFL. The deeper you look into the stats the more you begin to feel you are watching a superstar receiver rather than an emerging rookie.
Justin Jefferson may be the NFL's best receiver overall
Only one other receiver in the NFL rivals Justin Jefferson in both efficiency and production and that player(Will Fuller) just got flagged for PED use. That speaks volumes to the level of play Jefferson is putting out there. Jefferson is doing so much more with his targets than his rival receivers, his YAC production is ridiculous and as a rookie has emerged as his teams #1 target.
In only his first season Jefferson is already rubbing shoulders with the elite players in his position in terms of production. Looking at the above chart you can see him floating over or in front of a who's who of NFL Star receivers; he is floating right above Julio Jones, he is right ahead of DK Metcalf and his own star receiver team mate in Adam Thielen is stuck in the cluster no where near him. Justin Jefferson may just be the NFL's most productive/efficient receiver off the bat and will most likely be a problem for years to come.
Hopefully Mike Zimmer is retained as he has provided a great environment for majority of his draft picks to grow and develop into Pro Bowlers, All Pros and other accolades. Justin Jefferson has a chance to be his best overall draft pick.