There are a few wide receivers who have a reasonable claim to being the best in the NFL.
Packers-turned-Raiders wideout Davante Adams has racked up the touchdowns, catches and yards over the last couple of seasons. Cooper Kupp won the receiving triple crown last season. Cases for Deebo Samuel and Tyreek Hill go beyond traditional stats.
Then there is the Vikings’ Justin Jefferson, who said in July that Adams is currently the league’s top receiver, but that he plans to take the belt from Adams this season.
On Thursday, Kupp was asked for his take on Jefferson overtaking Adams and, by extension, himself.
“I respect his opinion and I can also respectfully disagree,” the Rams receiver told reporters.
The reigning Super Bowl MVP wasn’t offended by Jefferson’s assertion, however.
“I would hope he would say that,” Kupp said. “I think thats the beauty of this game. I think it speaks to the competitiveness of this league. If youre not putting yourself as the best, and youre not working to be the best, then Id be concerned about stepping on the field with you, if you dont feel like youve prepared to be the best player that you can be.”
Jefferson’s already gotten off to a great start in his career.
In 2020, he broke the rookie record with 1,400 receiving yards. Jefferson improved on that in 2021, recording 1,616 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.
His 3,016 receiving yards over the last two seasons are the most of anyone during that span and a record for any player in the first two years. Adams, however, is averaging the most receiving yards per game (97.6) since 2020. Jefferson is second (91.4). Kupp narrowly trails both in total receiving yards (2,921) and receiving yards per game (91.3).
Adams has the lead in receptions over the last two seasons (238), and is the only player to record at least 110 catches in each campaign. Kupp has 237 catches (while playing two more games) and Jefferson has 196, the seventh-most in that stretch.
The trio falls in the same order when it comes to receiving TDs since 2020, with Adams hauling in a league-high 29, Kupp tallying 19, and Jefferson, 17.
Jefferson, though, is the only receiver in the league to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. Moreover, his 15.3 yards per reception is well ahead of Adams and Kupp, both of whom are averaging 12.3.
In short, they can all lay claim to being the best out there. The stiff competition only means they’ll have to continue backing it up.