Mon, 17 Jan 2022

Lunchbreak: Jefferson Dubbed Best WR of 2020 Draft Class

Minnesota Vikings
04 Dec 2021, 20:37 GMT+10

Lindsey Young

It's no secret that Justin Jefferson is good. Like, really good.

Jefferson this morning was announced as the NFC Offensive Player of the Month, as he continues to impress fans and pundits alike.

Accolades are nothing new for the former LSU star, but he accepts them humbly and continues to work. Another title that's recently come Jefferson's way is best receiver from the 2020 NFL Draft class, a list assembled by Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus. He wrote for ESPN:

It's difficult to make any sweeping conclusions about who exactly an NFL player will be after his rookie season. Everyone gets drafted into a different situation and develops on a different curve. But the bigger picture is starting to become clearer as we near the end of the second regular season for the 2020 draft class. We are starting to understand the role these players have on their respective teams.

[...]

With help from Pro Football Focus grading, here's a look at the top second-year players at each position through 12 weeks of the 2021 season.

After spotlighting Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, Linsey tabbed Jefferson in the receiver spot.

One of the most telling situations for a wide receiver is how he performs against single coverage, and Jefferson has thrived in that department. Dating to his rookie season in 2020, only Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs have graded higher than Jefferson against single coverage.

Jefferson has proven that the concerns about his ability to win against press coverage on the outside were overblown as well. No wide receiver has recorded more receiving yards against press coverage than Jefferson since 2020 (1,114). The No. 22 overall pick has quickly become one of the most dangerous and well-rounded wide receivers in the NFL.

At tight end, Linsey highlighted a player whom the Vikings are slated to see at Chicago for Monday Night Football later this month - Cole Kmet.

Tight end is shaping up to be one of the weaker positions of the class. Just three 2020 picks - Kmet, Adam Trautman and Harrison Bryant - have played at least 300 offensive snaps in 2021.

Kmet's numbers are somewhat limited by one of the league's lowest-volume passing offenses, but the second-round pick out of Notre Dame has improved his PFF receiving grade to 70.5 through Week 12 of 2021 from 57.6 last season. Kmet has been particularly effective in contested situations, where his 69-percent catch rate since 2020 ranks first among 25 tight ends with 15 or more such targets.

To see Linsey's full list, click here.

3 Vikings among Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 finalists

Last summer, Vikings Legend Greg Coleman was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame.

This year, there three other former Vikings have a chance to receive the honor.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced its list of finalists for the Class of 2022, and included in the group of 29 are former Vikings receivers Sammy White and Jake Reed, as well as former Head Coach Leslie Frazier.

The 29 finalists were selected from more than 200 nominees. The Class of 2022 inductees will be announced on Dec. 28.

"The job of picking the finalist for selection to the Black College Football Hall of Fame becomes increasingly difficult each year because everyone on the list is so deserving," said Committee Chairman Charlie Neal. "The selection committee has again come through with flying colors, and we congratulate those who have made great contributions to the game."

This year's finalists include 25 players, three coaches and one contributor.

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