After Calvin Johnson retired, Matthew Stafford was immediately pegged as a breakout candidate for the Lions. Many outside of Detroit expected Stafford to have a tremendous season in 2015, as he led the Lions to a 4-game winning streak after Johnson retired. However, Stafford’s season was cut short due to injury, and he missed the rest of the team’s season while he recovered.

The Detroit Lions signed wide receiver Calvin Johnson as a free agent in 2009, and he has been one of the greatest playoff performers of all time since then. In his seven postseasons, the Lions have been an inconsistent team with a lot of close wins and losses, but Calvin has always helped them make the playoffs in those years. In the Lions’ last two playoff appearances (2011 and 2016), he was a dominant force, scoring 16 touchdowns in 11 games, including three scores in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Legendary Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson wants the world to know about Van Jefferson.

If you’re not familiar with Jefferson, a former second rounder, don’t worry. If Johnson has his way, the entire league will know the second-year receiver very soon.

Calvin Johnson has a close relationship with Van Jefferson’s father

Calvin Johnson (L) yelled at Rams receiver Van Jefferson on the podcast. Can Jefferson have a big year in 2021? | Dave Reginek/Getty Images; Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Don’t be surprised if Johnson joins the Los Angeles Rams this season, but he won’t do it for nothing.

During a recent appearance on theThe Hookpodcast, Johnson discussed his relationship with new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, his former Lions teammate. The former All-Pro receiver said he thumbed his nose at Stafford, who the Lions had sold to the Rams earlier this year, and that they still have a good relationship.

However, Johnson has his eye on another player on the Rams’ offense who has been linked to the Lions.

We also have a friend in Van Jefferson. Sean Jefferson, he was my receivers coach in Detroit. Her son now plays with Matthew, which is very cool.

Calvin Johnson

Sean Jefferson, who coached Johnson with the Lions from 2007-2012, is now the receivers coach with the Arizona Cardinals.

Johnson inadvertently suggested that Jefferson was a possible escapee

The Los Angeles Rams stockpile receivers and create a weapons shortage at Stafford. But Johnson unwittingly planted the seed that Jefferson could rise above the mob in his second NFL season.

In 16 games as a rookie, Jefferson caught 19 balls for 220 yards and a touchdown. He also had six receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown in two postseason games. In his second pro season, he can improve on all these numbers.

It should be noted that Johnson never explicitly said Jefferson would have a breakthrough season with the Rams. Still, the new Pro Football Hall of Fame member is curious to see what his former coach’s son can accomplish with Stafford at quarterback.

The simple act of acknowledging someone’s presence often says much more than intended. Now that Johnson has confirmed Jefferson’s presence on the podcast, football fans have even more reason to follow the young receiver’s progress, especially for the Fantasy Football Draft.

Will Jefferson break through in year two?

The only thing holding Jefferson back from a real breakthrough are the players in front of him. Cooper Kapp and Robert Woods return as key players, and the Rams have contracted controversial speedster DeSean Jackson this season.

If Jefferson can beat out Jackson and Tutu Atwell for the No. 3 receiver job, he could definitely be part of the Rams’ offense. Don’t be surprised if Sean McVay implements a pass rush system that utilizes Stafford’s arm strength and experience.

Jefferson impressed in college with his speed and showed impressive route running skills as a freshman. These traits could make him a dangerous weapon in a Stafford-led offense.

That means Jefferson is nowhere near Johnson’s average (81 catches, 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns). But Johnson has at least laid the groundwork to see Jefferson as a potential breakthrough candidate next season.

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