LSU Football: Justin Jefferson expected to make massive impact as a rookie

LSU Football WR Justin Jefferson (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
LSU Football WR Justin Jefferson (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Former LSU football wide receiver Justin Jefferson has a big opportunity as a rookie in the NFL.

The Minnesota Vikings selected LSU football‘s Justin Jefferson with the No. 22 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

It’s nearly a perfect situation for Jefferson, who has the potential to fill an immediate need for the Vikings.

That’s because wide receiver Stefon Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bills prior to the draft. In five seasons with the Vikings, Diggs caught 365 passes for 4,623 yards and 30 touchdowns. That’s a lot of lost production that Minnesota has to replace.

Fortunately for the Vikings, Jefferson knows a thing or two about producing at a high level.

Justin Jefferson can be the Vikings’ X-factor

Jefferson was one of the most productive players in college football in 2019, catching 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. That type of production level makes him an ideal replacement for Diggs in Minnesota.

The former LSU standout has a knack for finding the soft spot in zone defenses and getting open. Jefferson’s an excellent route runner who has enough speed to stretch the field when needed. In other words, he’s a complete wide receiver.

That’s probably why Bleacher Report listed Jefferson as the Vikings’ biggest X-factor heading into the 2020 season.

Bleacher Report noted that Jefferson could eventually be an upgrade over Diggs (though it wouldn’t be wise to expect that to happen in Jefferson’s rookie season). Diggs only had seven touchdowns over the last two years. Jefferson, however, has proved he can consistently score against some of the nation’s top competition (the SEC is as close as you can get to the NFL).

Jefferson will have to compete with Tajae Sharpe, who came over to Minnesota this offseason from the Tennessee Titans, for targets in 2020. But that shouldn’t be too much of a competition. Sharpe is a third wide receiver at best. Jefferson, though, has the talent to be a No. 1 wide receiver for the Vikings.

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With most of the attention likely being directed at Adam Thielen, Jefferson certainly has the opportunity to shine as a rookie.