July 1, 2022

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Justin Jefferson Makes CBS Sports’ Top 25 Under 25

2 min read
Justin Jefferson Makes CBS Sports’ Top 25 Under 25

It sometimes feels like Justin Jefferson has been in the NFL for more than two seasons.

He’s already taken the league by storm as he readies for Year 3, and he’s only 22 years old (He’ll turn 23 on June 16). Jefferson’s prolific start made him an easy selection for CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, who assembled a “Top 25 NFL players 25 and under” list.

Benjamin excluded this year’s rookie class from the running. He slated Jefferson at No. 5 on the list and wrote the following:

He laid the groundwork for [Ja’Marr] Chase to exit LSU and enter the NFL as an instant home run threat. The lanky No. 1 is on a Randy Moss pace in Minnesota, serving as a constant outlet for Kirk Cousins and single-handedly spreading out the Vikings’ offense. His team couldn’t have found a better Stefon Diggs successor, adding both swagger and electricity in Jefferson.

Jefferson was the highest-rated receiver on Benjamin’s list. The only players ranked ahead of him were (from 1-4, respectively) Chargers QB Justin Herbert, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, Bengals QB Joe Burrow and 49ers DE Nick Bosa.

Chase landed at No. 6 on the list, followed by Bucs T Tristan Wirfs and Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, whom the Vikings are slated to host this season.

Murray’s a bit of a difficult code to crack. On one hand, he’s ended all three NFL seasons either hurt or in a slump, has overseen a combined Cardinals record of 22-23-1 and is all but demanding a new deal before a single promising playoff game in Arizona. On the other, he’s easily a top-10 dual threat when at the height of his game, with a fiery arm and unending elusiveness. Odds are, whether in Arizona or elsewhere, his talent will keep him in the big-game conversation for longer than most QBs.

Minnesota also will face Packers CB Jaire Alexander – twice – and Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, whom Benjamin ranked Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.

Benjamin said that even after missing most of last season with an injury, Alexander “remains one of the top young cover men in the game.” And for Taylor? Indianapolis’ offense “quite literally runs through him,” Benjamin noted.

Not just because they force-feed him, but because he does a ton with the ball in his hands. In two years, he’s racked up 3,639 yards from scrimmage, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, while scoring 32 touchdowns.

Click here to see Benjamin’s complete rankings.