Chris Carter Knew Justin Jefferson Was Going to Be Special

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Cris Carter Knew Justin Jefferson Was Going to Be Special (and Other NFL Bullets)

NFL

Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter knew that Justin Jefferson would be special. The Hall of Fame wide receiver tweeted at the Vikings days before the 2020 NFL Draft, asking them to take Justin Jefferson, saying that “he’s got a chance to be as good as any wide receiver in this year’s draft.”

  • Four other teams looking for a wide receiver in the first round should have taken Carter’s advice. The Raiders were the first team to take a wide receiver, selecting Henry Ruggs III with the twelfth pick in the draft. After that, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Jalen Reagor were taken after Ruggs before the Vikings finally took Jefferson at No. 22.

  • All Jefferson has done is haul in 324 passes for 4,825 yards and 25 touchdowns in three seasons in Minnesota. Jefferson’s 2022 campaign featured 128 catches, 1,809 yards, and eight touchdowns. The former LSU product averages 14.9 yards per reception in his three seasons. Only A.J. Brown (15.6) has a higher mark among receivers with at least 200 catches since Jefferson was drafted in 2020.
  • Regarding how the two Vikings wide receivers match up, Jefferson dwarfed Carter’s early numbers (Carter began his career in Philadelphia). His first three seasons stack up pretty well with Carter’s best three-season stretch in the NFL (1994-96). From 1994-96 Carter logged 340 catches, 3,790 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 11.1 yards per reception. Carter has the advantage in catches and touchdowns, while Jefferson beat him in yardage and yards per reception.
  • In 16 seasons, Carter racked up 1,101 catches, 13,899 yards, and 130 touchdowns. Using Jefferson’s per 17 game averages from his first three seasons, Jefferson would pass Carter’s career receptions in the next six to seven healthy seasons from now, smash his yardage record in five to six seasons, and more than likely end his career somewhere near Carter’s touchdown total.
  • So, Carter’s prediction is looking pretty good right now. Jefferson is on his way to becoming one of the best wide receivers in Vikings history and beyond.

  • However, Carter wasn’t the only one who knew that Justin Jefferson would be unique. LSU Director of performance innovation Jack Marruci knew that Jefferson possessed some “unicorn” one-of-one traits that would contribute to an extraordinary career.
  • In a recent story at The Athletic, Alec Lewis and Marruci discuss why Jefferson has done more in his first three seasons in the NFL than any other wide receiver in league history. Jefferson scored in the 91st percentile on the S2 Cognition test. In addition, he excelled in search efficiency, decision complexity, and improvisation, three areas integral to the wide receiver’s success. But that’s not it. Jefferson also possesses a rare vision characteristic that allows his to rapidly shift his eye dominance to the type and direction of his route. β€œI’ve tested a lot of guys now,” Marucci said. β€œHe’s the only one who I have seen who can do that.”
  • I strongly recommend checking the full story out if you’ve got some time today:

  • Speaking of past NFL Draft successes β€” the Broncos drafted a trio of future Hall of Famers on this date:

  • Antonio Brown is in the headlines for the wrong reasons, again …

  • Four  more  days! 

  • I feel like the NBA playoffs have been one nut check and chest stomp after another …


Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.