49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, one of the NFL’s best over the past decade and a player who has a good chance to wind up in the Hall of Fame someday, qualifies as a keen observer of wide receiver talent.
As such, it was notable to hear what he had to say recently when talking about Vikings rookie WR Justin Jefferson with NBC broadcaster and Pro Football Focus owner Cris Collinsworth
Building off the premise of how high Jefferson has been in PFF’s wide receiver rankings this season — he sits at No. 2 overall behind Davante Adams and has several top individual weeks — Sherman heaped praise on the Vikings rookie.
We talked about some of that on Thursday’s Access Vikings podcast, but here is a more of what Sherman had to say:
“He’s a rookie and he’s playing like he’s a five, six-year vet. You have to once again tip your hat to the kid,” Sherman said. “He’s not only taken advantage of the opportunity but shown all the people who thought he was just a slot receiver and wasn’t a great route runner, he’s putting on a clinic week in and week out.”
Sherman said Jefferson combines some of the best traits of two other veteran NFC North receivers — Detroit’s Marvin Jones and Chicago’s Allen Robinson — and said he thinks Jefferson is worthy of Pro Bowl and All-Pro consideration.
Jefferson leads all rookie receivers with 762 yards, and it will be fun to watch how he stacks up against another talented young wideout — Dallas rookie CeeDee Lamb, who has 595 yards this season — on Sunday.
Jefferson’s yardage total ranks him No. 7 in the NFL. That trails the man he essentially replaced — Stefon Diggs, who has 906 yards this season for Buffalo, ranking No. 2 in the league — but Jefferson’s production has been more than enough to ensure a smooth transition.
“He’s walked in a situation where Stefon Diggs had just been traded. Huge, huge, huge shoes to fill,” Sherman said. “And I think he’s gone out there and they haven’t really missed a beat.”