What can we expect from Justin Jefferson in Year 2 after his sensational rookie season?

Justin Jefferson simply got done having among the very best novice seasons any pass receiver has actually ever had. Despite not ending up being a routine starter up until Week 3, Jefferson ended up the year with 88 catches for 1,400 backyards (a novice record) and 7 goals. 

Given his age (he turned 22 years of ages in June), the Vikings’ financial investment in him (he was a first-round choice, No. 22 total), the depth chart (he counts just Adam Thielen amongst his target competitors), and his skill (he’s an outstanding path runner who revealed he is more than efficient in playing both in the slot and out large, and winning on the release, on the stem, and at the catch point), it’s natural to presume he’ll simply keep improving. 

Our own Pete Prisco has extremely high wish for Jefferson this season, for instance. “He is going to be the best receiver in the National Football League by the end of this year,” stated Prisco of the vibrant receiver who returned to practice Monday for the very first time considering that Aug. 6 after hurting his shoulder. “I think Jefferson is the real deal. His receivers coach, Keenan McCardell, said by the end of this season, Jefferson will be the best receiver in the NFL. You can take it to the bank.”

It’s time for the Vikings to make their relocation in the NFC North. Can Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson finish the job? Download the CBS Sports app to get the most recent headings from our group of NFL specialists. If you have actually currently downloaded the CBS Sports app, preferred the Vikings today to get all the leading headings out of Minnesota. 

Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback (and All Things Covered co-host) Bryant McFadden echoed Prisco’s beliefs, stating Jefferson’s ability is distinct because he runs the arena like he’s playing basketball and “it’s hard to study a guy like him as a defensive back.”

“Best receiver in the NFL” is definitely a high aircraft to reach. Does Jefferson have the skill to arrive? Possibly. The chance? Probably, although he does still bet a reasonably low-volume passing group that likewise dips into a sluggish speed. 

But he’s likewise not the very first pass receiver to have a fantastic novice season and enter his sophomore project with sky-high expectations. There are a lot of gamers from the current (and not-so-recent) past to which we can compare him, to see what may be an affordable standard of production for Jefferson in Year 2. To do this, we had a look on top 20 novice seasons in catches, from Anquan Boldin to Joey Galloway, and peered into the future at what they did throughout their 2nd year in the NFL. 

Player Year 1 Rec Tgt Yds TD Year 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
Average All 78 126 1085 8 All 71 121 955 5

It’s significant that there was a small drop-off from Year 1 to Year 2 amongst this group, much of it unsurprisingly driven by injury. To have as great (and even near as great) a novice season as Jefferson did, you need to remain healthy. But it is difficult to remain healthy every year in the NFL, so it’s not all that stunning that numerous of these gamers (Boldin and Glenn, for instance) handled numerous concerns that kept their numbers down in the year following their novice breakout. Some of them (like Royal and Clayton) simply might not duplicate the outcomes they had in that very first year, which wound up being the very best of their particular professions. 

Some handled to enhance on their launching seasons, like Thomas and Beckham. That duo presently ranks amongst simply 9 gamers in modern-day NFL history (i.e. considering that the AFL-NFL merger) to start their profession with back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard getting seasons. The others are Colston, Cooper, Evans, Moss, A.J. Brown, A.J. Green, and John Jefferson.

It’s appealing to swelling Justin Jefferson in with that group, due to the fact that his skill is so tremendous. It’s likewise worth keeping in mind that even if he experiences the exact same drop-off as the typical receiver in the group of 20 above, he’d still complete his 2nd season with 87 catches for 1,349 backyards and 4 goals (presuming he remains healthy and after representing the 17th video game this season). That’s still, uh, truly great. If that counts as an action backwards, I believe the Vikings would be simply great with the kind of gamer he’s developing into. 

There’s no doubt that Jefferson’s ceiling is tremendous, and he has the prospective to surpass what he did in 2015. But development isn’t constantly direct, and even if he takes a little action backwards or laterally, he’s still got the ability to be a truly excellent gamer. 



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