How good is Justin Jefferson? The Vikings selected the 21-year-old wide receiver from LSU with the 22nd overall pick in the NFL Draft, using the choice they got in the trade that sent Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills.
Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, who works for NFL Network, believes Jefferson "was the best value of the first round."
"He's perfect for Gary Kubiak's offensive system, and he'll end up catching a zillion balls for Minnesota. He's so dependable, so reliable, and will always be where he's supposed to be," Jeremiah wrote.
"He is going to get open, catches everything, and will be really good in the red zone. I wouldn't be surprised if we look back after next season and say the Vikings upgraded over Stefon Diggs."
During Thursday's draft coverage on ESPN and NFL Network, Jeremiah said that Jefferson was Kubiak's favorite wide receiver in this year's loaded draft class.
Hall of Fame Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin compared Jefferson's skills to Chargers Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen, saying "this kid can flat-out play football."
Vikings great Cris Carter, just moments before the pick was made, begged Minnesota to take Jefferson, saying "he's got a chance to be as good as any wide receiver in this year's draft."
Dez Bryant, the former Pro Bowl receiver for the Cowboys, tweeted that Jefferson "is going to be a problem in Minnesota."
According to Pro Football Focus, Jefferson led all draft-eligible pass catchers with a 92.3% contested-catch rate last season, when his 111 receptions for 1,500+ yards and 18 touchdowns helped LSU win a national championship.
There's one knock on Jefferson that has gained a lot of attention, and it's that he did most of his damage last season as a slot receiver, which is where Adam Thielen plays in Minnesota. Can Jefferson move to the outside and still produce?
"Even though he is considered to be the best slot receiver in the 2020 draft class, Jefferson should not be mistaken for a player who fits into just one role or only one specific scheme — he is a versatile player with a diverse skill set, and his football I.Q. should allow for more latitude when designing opportunities to get the ball in his hands," says Solomon Wilcots, of Pro Football Focus.
Jefferson agrees: "Yes, I've been playing outside all my life until last year. Last year was the first time I've been playing slot receiver. Yeah, definitely going into Minnesota and playing outside and inside when they need me."