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Analysis: Stefon Diggs, Justin Jefferson as elite as they come at WR

Revisiting the blockbuster trade that produced two superstars

New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills Set Number: x164230 TK1

Who knew that a tweet could alter the future of two franchises, and clear the way for two superstars to be born?

On March 16, 2020, Stefon Diggs tweeted “it’s time for a new beginning.” Later that night, he got just that: the Buffalo Bills made a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Vikings to give Diggs his new beginning after the receiver spent his first five seasons in the league with Minnesota.

Here were the details of that trade:

  • Bills received: WR Stefon Diggs, Vikings 2020 seventh-round pick
  • Vikings received: Bills 2020 first, fifth, and sixth-round picks; 2021 fourth-round pick

With the 2020 first-round pick (No.22 overall) that the Vikings received in the trade, they selected wide receiver Justin Jefferson from LSU.

Since joining the Bills, Diggs has launched his career into a different stratosphere by joining the Bills, while Jefferson has burst onto the scene and cemented himself as one of the league's top receivers in his own right. Both players have proven to be difference-makers, and seemingly the correct choice for each team, but let's take a deeper dive and compare the two players since they’ve been with their respective teams.

Stefon Diggs vs. Justin Jefferson statistics

These stats give us a unique look, because both Diggs and Jefferson have played the same amount of games from 2020-2022; neither of them has missed a regular-season game. Just taking a glance at the graph above, you can tell that both players have posted some eye-popping stats.

Diggs set the NFL on fire in his first season with the Bills, leading the league in receptions (127) and yards (1,535)—which were both also franchise records for the Bills. His 1,535 receiving yards in 2020 was also an NFL record for most receiving yards for a player in their first season with a new team. He is fourth in yards, second in receptions, and tied for sixth in touchdowns in the NFL since 2020.

Jefferson had a great rookie season in 2020—in fact, one of the best ever for a rookie receiver. He set a single-season rookie receiving yards record in the Super Bowl era with 1,400 yards. This record didn’t last long, though, as his former college teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, broke the record the next season. Jefferson is first in yards, fifth in receptions, and tenth in touchdowns in the NFL since 2020.

Stefon Diggs vs. Justin Jefferson—NFL Awards

Stefon Diggs

  • First Team All-Pro (2020)
  • 2x Pro Bowl (2020, 2021)

Justin Jefferson

  • 2x Second Team All-Pro (2020, 2021)
  • 2x Pro Bowl (2020, 2021)

Stefon Diggs vs. Justin Jefferson—elite route running

Diggs and Jefferson are known throughout the league for their elite route-running abilities. Let’s take a quick look at both players’ incredible on-field route work.

Stefon Diggs

Justin Jefferson

In Summary

I think it’s safe to say that both teams are happy with how the trade in 2020 worked out. Diggs has proven essential to Josh Allen’s development, and his addition gave the Bills the superstar wide receiver they so desperately needed. Jefferson quickly eased the Vikings' sting of giving up Diggs by replicating the former’s production, and then some, and in earning Pro Bowl nods during each of his first two seasons (he’s well on his way to a third this year). Both teams hit pay dirt (pun intended) in this trade, one of the few times you’ll see such an even trade in the NFL.