Alshon Jeffery Will Contend for the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year Award

Jacob PratherContributor IIIMay 18, 2012

Alshon Jeffery Will Contend for the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year Award

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    Alshon Jeffery was asked to attend the NFL Rookie Premier in Los Angeles and did not want to attend because he didn't want to miss any of the Bears offseason programs.

    With his priorities set, goals in place, and chip on his shoulder I suspect Jeffery to compete for the Rookie of the Year in 2012. With a great set of teammates, leadership, core group of veterans, play makers and a great defense, I believe the Bears have a potential perennial pro-bowler on hand to compliment Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler and Matt Forte on offense.

    If Jeffery plays with that chip on his shoulder, a selfless motivation to learn the team philosophy and learn the playbook, I believe Jeffery will be a great Bears teammate and a contender for the the 2012 Rookie of the Year trophy.

Physical Abilities

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    Alshon Jeffery's physical abilities should be tough to deal with in a multitude of ways. The scouting report on Jeffery says that he tracks the ball well over both shoulders, has excellent ball control and hands, he is a willing blocker and uses his size to his advantage, athletic, great leaping abilities and has good speed.

    His size will help him contribute in every phase of the offense. It will also assist him in his ability to run block, win battles at the line of scrimmage, box out cornerbacks on slant, in, out, and button routes, and jump balls on under thrown, inaccurate throws, and fade routes in the end zone.

    His size, speed, and ability to use his feet makes him nearly impossible to bring down in the open field. This will help him with his yards after catch (YAC). It will also help him produce long plays and will make him a great option on third downs as a possession-type receiver.

    His speed coupled with his size will be pressure enough for safeties to play over the top to protect against the deep ball, which will open up the rest of the field. It will additionally afford Jay Cutler the ability to have faith in Jeffery to out jump and/or outrun the corner and safety to get to deep balls.

    His hands and ability to catch any ball thrown in his direction has never been in question. He has some of the biggest and strongest hands to come out of the draft.

    All of these traits in which he possesses; speed, size, leaping ability, hands, etc. will help him and the Bears tremendously. It will help the offenses overall red zone production, and because of his physical traits it will help him produce stats that will be hard for any voter to deny.

    He could potentially end the season with 8-10 TD's because the Bears will utilize him so well in the red zone.

Supporting Cast

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    The supporting cast around Jeffery is already in place. He does not have to come out of college and have the pressures of a a rookie who is shoved into the number one role on offense.

    Jeffery has a 3x pro bowler in Brandon Marshall who is built nearly the same as himself. A tough, physical receiver who doesn't shy away from contact. Both Marshall and Jeffery are between 6'3" and 6'4", both weigh in above 215 lbs. and both run a near 4.5 40.

    With Marshall and Jeffery being so similar in stature it should help make the transition from college to the pro's much easier for Jeffery. Marshall's maturation, as seen on ESPN's First Take, will make it easier for a talent like Jeffery to find the in's and out's of the game on and off the field.

    With the skill of Marshall, the speed of Hester, and the reliability of Bennett, it should make play making much simpler for Jeffery. The double teams will come his way, but the defenses will have to pick their poison of who they would like to double.

    Furthermore, the leadership and wealth of knowledge that is on both sides of the ball in Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers, Tillman, Jennings, Cutler, Forte, Garza, Marshall will help take the pressure off Jeffery as all the attention will be on the veterans.

    He also has a pro bowl caliber quarterback in Jay Cutler who will guide him through the season as the leader of the team. Matt Forte will alleviate a lot of the offensive pressure from the rookie as well and will make it much easier for Jeffery to receive one on one's on the outside where he will have a tremendous advantage.

Great Teammate

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    Jeffery, while attending the University of South Carolina, was a selfless player. After his spectacular sophomore season his junior season was looked at as a disappointment because his production had dipped so low. What wasn't publicized was the reasoning for the production dipping in his junior year. He was simply being a team player.

    During the 2011 season, South Carolina lost their starting quarterback. The opposing teams made the adjustment to double cover Jeffery nearly every play. The passing game lacked any significant threats to lure defenses to another wide receiver so Spurrier had a meeting with the offense and Jeffery. Jeffrey agreed to the lesser role for what was best for the team.

    The team moved to a run first oriented offense, which helped Jeffery develop into a great run blocker for Marcus Lattimore and the other running backs. Although his reception production and draft stock dipped, he still has the ability to be a great wide receiver.

    In contrast to the reports we all heard throughout the mock drafts and the combine about his lack of focus, motivation, and dedication to the game, reports had surfaced a week ago that Jeffery was asked to attend the NFL Rookie Premier in Los Angeles and admitted to be hesitant to attend because he didn't want to miss any of the Bears off-season programs.

    Jeffery was also reported to have wanted to sign his rookie contract quickly so he could attend the Bears rookie mini-camp. Recently, Jeffery was reported to have worked out with veteran third string quarterback Josh McCown in South Carolina to get an introductory lesson to the Bears playbook.

    McCown walked away from the work out with Jeffery in great spirits saying, "I like him mentally, and he has great hands."

    Then there was the report a couple weeks ago from Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett who was quoted as saying, "He (Jeffery) is out to prove to everybody that he should have been a first round pick. I feel like he has got a chip on his shoulder to come in and prove people wrong."

    When you mix the chip on his shoulder, his selfless motivation to attend rookie mini-camp, and learn the playbook, into the pot with being a great teammate, having great veteran leadership, and other play makers surrounding him, I believe Jeffery will be a great teammate and bonified contender for the the 2012 Rookie of the Year trophy.