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Justin Jefferson Vs. Ja’Marr Chase: Which Former LSU STAR Will Shine MORE In 2022-23?

Jefferson vs Chase. The two have talked about which former LSU Tiger is the superior wide receiver. But who will have the better campaign in 2022-23? Let’s settle it!

The Keynote

Let’s settle this debate. Chase thinks he’s better, while Jefferson laughs off questions about the topic. Looking back to their college days, Ja’Marr and Justin both had unquestionably their best seasons in 2019, playing alongside each other. Chase finished the season with 84 receptions for 1780 yards and 20 touchdowns, which broke all sorts of school records. (Sports Reference) It’s much easier to see why the Cincinnati Bengals went with Chase rather than drafting a top touted offensive lineman in the 2021 draft, as re-uniting franchise quarterback Joe Burrow and Chase, this time playing in the NFL, was an option too exciting to turn down for general manager Mike Brown.

As for Jefferson, he was just as good. Catching over one hundred passes for 1,540 yards and 18 scores, the soon to be Minnesota Viking star did not disappoint. Burrow, Chase, and Jefferson also went on to win the National Championship in 2020, completing their perfect 15-0 season with a resounding 42-25 win over Clemson in the title game.



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The Strengths of Ja’Marr and JJ

Chase was known for simply making catches with an absurd amount of consistency. Leaping over defenders, grabbing the football out of the air, and scoring the fourth most touchdowns in LSU history were just a few things that Chase accomplished during his career with the Tigers. He also holds the single season receptions record and the single season touchdowns record with the aforementioned 1,780 and 20, respectively. (Sports Reference)

On the other hand, Jefferson was a RAC type of guy, as he is in Minnesota today. He would snag passes from Burrow and turn ten-yard completions into 65-yard touchdowns in the blink of an eye. Bringing an immense amount of energy to the offense which really had an everlasting effect on the entire team was another essential strong point in his game.

The Start Of Their NFL Journey

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As for their NFL careers, the former LSU wide receiver duo were both guys who burst on the scene as soon as their feet hit the ground in the league. Justin Jefferson was drafted 22nd overall by the Minnesota Vikings, which was a pick they acquired in a trade that landed Stefon Diggs in Buffalo. So, Buffalo originally had the 22nd selection, and the swap of Jefferson and Diggs is one that sits well with both fanbases, as both receivers have been top five caliber players at their positions since the deal was made in March of 2020.

Contrastingly, Chase was picked much higher. The Bengals had the fifth pick in the 2021 draft and used it to pair Chase and Burrow in the jungle, hoping that their college days would transfer to the NFL. Was the gamble worth it? Well, Chase was simply unguardable in his rookie season.

He would mesh perfectly with the Bengals system on offense, and easily win rookie of the year, snagging 81 passes for 1,455 yards and thirteen TD’s. Just an absolutely dominant display from the rookie, and after years of Cincinnati being under .500, they shocked the football world, won their division, and made it to the Super Bowl, where they would eventually fall to the Los Angeles Rams in a highly contested game.



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Jefferson’s first season was up and down, and the downs were not due to him playing poorly, but rather his team having some chemistry problems, and the pairing of quarterback Kirk Cousins and head coach Mike Zimmer was simply not working out anymore. Zimmer being the defensive wizard that he proved to be, and Cousins wanting the team to be more offensive minded, it was apparent that even if Jefferson was an All-Pro year one, the Vikings were not slated for a postseason run, especially with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers defending the NFC North crown year after year.

Was Jefferson elite? Yes, absolutely. He caught 88 passes for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns and was far and away the best thing Minnesota had going at the time. (NFL.com) In year two, the former Tiger was even better. He made over one hundred catches in 2021, accounting for 1,616 yards and thirteen scores. He was the number two fantasy football wide receiver just behind Cooper Kupp, and without a doubt certified himself as a top five receiver. After last season, Minnesota fired Zimmer, and will be moving forward with Kevin O’Connell, who became the tenth head coach in Vikings franchise history.

The Real Debate…

So, let’s get down to the premise of this article. The question is not who the better player is, but who will have the better 2022-23 campaign. And my answer is quite simple, and for good reason. Ja’Marr Chase is playing with a revamped offensive line, a quarterback that he’s known for years, and weapons around him such as Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. He was so impressive in just his first year in the league, that he has analysts taking him as the best player at his position going into his second.

Meanwhile, Justin Jefferson is playing with a new head coach, schematic changes, and a quarterback that hasn’t gained my trust ever since joining the NFC North. An offense with an aging Adam Thielen, rookie Jalen Nailor, and of course Dalvin Cook, who is a star when healthy. While it may be a better ‘statistical’ season for Jefferson because of the lack of weapons around him, Chase will undoubtedly be more important to his team and the Bengals will control their division throughout the season, while Minnesota will be looking to secure a wild card berth, with the dominant Packers at least two games ahead of them as the weeks wind down in December.

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The Verdict

Ja’Marr Chase is a franchise changer. A player who never seemed to struggle with the transition from college to the NFL. Chase essentially played just as well in his rookie season with the Bengals as he did in his final seasons with LSU. As Cincinnati revamped their offensive line, brought back most of the key pieces they had a season ago, and have the future top QB/WR pairing in the league, I firmly believe that even with Justin Jefferson’s immense talent and pure gift that he possesses on a football field, his former teammate at college Ja’Marr Chase will have the better season in 2022-23.

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