NFC Notes: Justin Jefferson, Bears, Lions, Vikings

     

Justin Jefferson

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson said he expected to be selected by the Eagles in the 2020 NFL Draft instead of landing in Minnesota at No. 22 overall. 

“Leading up to the draft, you know, they had all of those mock drafts and people sharing their opinions on who is going to go where. A lot of people had me going to Philly. And, I thought I was going to Philly. Honestly. The funny part is, Philly was on the board and then Minnesota called me. At first, I thought it was Philly. But, I answered the phone and it was Minnesota. It’s crazy how all of that happened and everything. But, I’m definitely, definitely, definitely excited that I’m on the Vikings rather than Philly,” said Jefferson, via Tyler R. Tynes of GQ.

Jefferson points out that there was some skepticism about him being a versatile receiver leading into last year’s draft.

“There were questions about me being a fast guy, me being only a slot receiver, me not being able to play that big role in an offense. There were definitely questions about me going into the draft and combine and everything. I wanted to prove to everybody that I am a versatile receiver and that I am one of these top-tier guys,” said Jefferson. 

Jefferson explained that he felt pressure getting drafted by the Vikings after they traded Stefon Diggs to the Bills, but he’s been able to build a connection with the former Minnesota receiver. 

“It’s tough. It is definitely tough coming in as a rookie after a guy gets traded that was pretty much the number one receiver. People expected me to be the same as him or outperform him. There were a lot of questions about me being able to live up to Stefon Diggs and all of this. It definitely made it seem like we were enemies. But, we got cool over the season. I just saw him working out at House of Athlete and we were talking there, too. We’ve grabbed a connection over the course of time,” said Jefferson. 

Bears

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes the Bears are seen around the league as a team that could move up aggressively for a quarterback. But with just over a week until the start of the first round, he notes Chicago hasn’t been burning up the phone lines yet. 
  • According to Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com, the Bears are a team that highly values Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge 
  • Pauline reports that Eskridge has “cemented himself” as a second-round pick. 
  • The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain writes that his sense from reading scouting reports is that Stanford QB Davis Mills would be the best fit for Bears HC Matt Nagy if Chicago targets him on Day 2. However, Chicago could lean toward Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond who has far more experience, 44 starts compared to 11 for Mills. 
  • From a big-picture perspective, Fisbain says it will be tough for Bears chairman George McCaskey to sign off on a rebuild because he’s always looking to stay competitive and keep fans in the stands, especially coming off the pandemic-affected 2020 season. He adds he gets the sense ownership will do anything to avoid going 3-13 even if it could be better for the organization in the long run. 
  • As far as under-the-radar Bears to keep an eye on, Fishbain lists CBs Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor, WR Riley Ridley and OLB Trevis Gipson

Lions

  • The Lions hired Jill Costanza as its sports science director. (Justin Rogers)
  • Costanza is a former athletic performance coach at the University of Texas and also did contract work with the U.S. military.

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