Even though Justin Jefferson lost his rookie receiving record, he actually improved in year number two, putting together one of the best first two years of a receiver’s career.
But an unknown pioneer of the WR position may have produced the best starts of a player’s time in the league, while also being one of the biggest “what ifs” in NFL history.
With Jefferson’s repeated success in 2022, he found himself setting another record for the most receiving yards in a player’s first two seasons with 3,016. Alongside the Vikings first round pick, only three other receivers in the game’s history surpassed 2,600 yards to this point: OBJ, Randy Moss, and everyone’s favorite Bill Groman.
Bill Groman, the 1960 rookie out of Heidelberg College, made the most of his 2,828th Draft pick, posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He averages a monstrous 21.7 yards per reception on just 122 catches, which may deserve more appreciation when compared to these other record-setters.
This comparison just goes to show how different the production of Groman in the early ‘60s was in comparison to today. Adding 51 receptions at around 18 yards per night easily allows him to surpass all three other qualifying sophomores.
Outside of Groman though, considering all the other factors that may limit his dominance since he posted these numbers over 60 years ago, it once again gives praise to how impressive OBJ’s dominance was in his first two years.
If we even out the games played to Jefferson’s 33, he surpasses the rest of the group with ease, as his second year did calm down his mark of over 100 yards per game, but also increases his effectiveness per each of those catches.