LSU’s Legacy of NFL WRs: From OBJ, Landry to Chase, Jefferson – New Orleans Saints Blog

METAIRIE, La. – When New Orleans Saints wide receiver Jarvis Landry committed to LSU in 2010, he wasn’t exactly following a long list of modern pass catchers who thrived at the next level.

That did not stop him from signing immediately.

“I don’t even think about it,” Landry said.

He added: “I didn’t see it as ‘Receiver U.’ I saw it as, if you play there, you get to go to the NFL, play against some of the best NCAA talent. … That was really my way of thinking.”

Landry not only jumped at the chance, but it could be argued that he and Odell Beckham Jr. ushered in the modern era of LSU’s All-Star wide receivers in the NFL.

Now players like Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase are building a new legacy.

And not to mention that all four receivers are from Louisiana.

“I wouldn’t say we’re continuing, I’d say we’re starting,” Chase told ESPN. “I say we are the beginning of a new legacy, and it started with Odell and Jarvis. We’re just starting out as the four of us, and we’re just building the process.”

LSU produced its fair share of NFL receivers this century. Josh Reed, Michael Clayton, Dwayne Bowe, Devery Henderson and Brandon LaFell all played at least eight seasons or more in the NFL and had good careers.

But they never received the accolades that the current generation of receivers have already garnered. The 11 Pro Bowls between Landry, Beckham, Jefferson and Chase more than double the total of all receivers LSU has put into the league.

What used to be a rarity in the NFL now feels like the norm.

“Their glass overflowed,” Landry said.

The process could have started with Beckham’s famous one-handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie for the New York Giants in 2014. The catch catapulted him to superstar status and was one of the highlights of a season in which he was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It was also the culmination of hundreds of similar catches he and Landry made on LSU’s practice fields. Beckham and Landry were not only able to make the tough catches, but in 2013 they also became the first pair of LSU receivers to top 1,000 yards in the same season.

Years later, Jefferson and Chase would do the same, outdoing each other with fantastic catches just like their predecessors. But it took Chase a while to decide if he really wanted to go to LSU.

“I think it was like my second or third year [of high school] when I started looking at OBJ and Jarvis at LSU and realized how good they were,” Chase said. “It took me a while to really tap into how good they were, but I really didn’t want to go to LSU early on. It happened really last minute for me when I made my decision.”

Jefferson and Chase eventually broke Beckham’s and Landry’s records, with both surpassing 1,500 receiving yards during the 2019 national championship season.

“When Jarvis and Odell were there, they were competing with each other to try to outdo each other … and I think that was Ja’Marr and me,” Jefferson told ESPN. “Just being together, competing with each other every day in practice, made us try to be better than everyone else and it definitely shows coming into the league and performing the way we did.”

Jefferson currently leads the NFL with 547 receiving yards, with 147 of those yards coming in a win against the Saints in London during Week 4.

Chase was the 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year, but this season (343 yards and two touchdowns) he hasn’t put up the same numbers that he put up in five games last season (456 yards and five touchdowns). However, he will continue to receive a warm welcome from the home crowd when the Saints (2-3) host the Bengals (2-3) on Sunday (1 pm ET, Fox).

It will be Chase’s first game at Caesar’s Superdome since he caught nine passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns from then-quarterback Joe Burrow, who is now the Bengals’ starter, in LSU’s win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff. . National Championship in 2020.

He’ll also draw a lot of attention from the Saints’ defense, which could be affected by an abdominal injury to cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

“I think Ja’Marr Chase is one of the best receivers in our league,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s exceptional in terms of running off the catch.”

When asked to point to the reason for the lack of career success, Landry pointed to an offense built primarily around running.

“[Former LSU passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach] Joe Brady comes along with Joe Burrow, and they throw the ball [more than we did] and that’s when I think it became more tempting to say ‘Oh, they throw the ball there,’” Landry said.

Said former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, now with the Vikings: “You saw when you put Joe in there, now they’ve become the U receiver. It’s about the quarterback and the playcaller.”

It was more a product of the situation than a lack of athletes, Peterson said.

“They always had receivers there. … I always thought we had quarterbacks that could throw the ball,” Peterson told ESPN. “So I don’t know if it was the offensive coordinator, the playcaller, the confidence factor. I couldn’t tell you what it was. But we always had great athletes across the board. It’s just a matter of time to get the right quarterback to get those guys the ball.”

Peterson, who returned kicks and played both running back and defense in high school, lamented not getting snaps in college.

“[Former LSU coach] Les Miles flirted a bit with that. I still wish I had a chance to get a couple of offensive snaps, but he waited until my junior year to at least give me a punt return play,” Peterson said. “And the rest was history after that. But I begged him, from my freshman year, but in his defense, we had Trindon Holliday, one of the fastest guys in college football history. So I guess I had to wait my turn.”

With the recent success of the LSU wide receivers, perhaps things would be different if Peterson played at LSU today.

“I think for sure I would probably be on the offensive side of the ball, especially with what I was able to do in high school,” Peterson said.

NFL Nation reporters Ben Baby and Kevin Seifert contributed to this story.

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