Calling Justin Jefferson an Upgrade Over Stefon Diggs is Disrespectful
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah is high on Vikings rookie receiver Justin Jefferson in 2020. So much so that he actually thinks Jefferson could be an upgrade over the player whose role he's filling, Stefon Diggs.
“I’ve been on record, I think this could be an upgrade for the Minnesota Vikings,” Jeremiah said on his Move The Sticks show. “Stefon Diggs is an outstanding player and the Buffalo Bills are hoping he can be that No. 1 wide receiver for Josh Allen. But, I think when you look at Justin Jefferson, he just gives you a little more size. He is going to win right now in the slot, he is going to be very trustworthy as a pass-catcher in Minnesota for their quarterback in Kirk Cousins. I think he is going to be outstanding there.”
Of course, Diggs was traded to the Bills in March after he used Twitter to make it known that he wanted a change of scenery. The Vikings used the premiere pick that they received in that deal – No. 22 overall – to draft Jefferson out of LSU a month later.
I'm high on Jefferson as well. I loved the pick, and gave Rick Spielman and company an "A" grade at the time. I think he's going to be an immediate contributor for the Vikings and has a chance to turn into a star.
But is he an upgrade over Diggs in 2020? Not at all. And to say so is actually kind of disrespectful to Diggs, in my opinion. We're talking about one of the best route-runners in the league, a five-year veteran coming off of back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Jefferson was dominant last year at LSU, but there's a big difference between proving it at the college level and proving it in the NFL.
Sure, Jefferson (6'1", 202, 33-inch arms) gives the Vikings a little more size and length than Diggs (6'0", 190, 31-inch arms), but not by a ton. And Diggs plays bigger than his size because of his contested catch ability. Jefferson is also a great route-runner who can go up and get the ball, but he's nowhere near as advanced as Diggs when it comes to releasing off of the line of scrimmage against press coverage. He's also not on his predecessor's level as a deep threat just yet.
It's one thing to be excited about Jefferson's prospects for 2020. But calling him an upgrade over Diggs is going too far.
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