Chicago Bears: Big Things Are in Store for Rookie Alshon Jeffery
Expecting too much of a rookie is a good way to get your heart broken.
I'm ready to take that chance, though, because Alshon Jeffery is going to have a great year.
We know that B/R's own Draft Expert Matt "I'm gonna be in Madden 2013" Miller loves him some Alshon Jeffery.
However, I've come along myself when it comes to the Bears' rookie wide receiver. One is always hesitant to get too excited for rookie wide receivers; the landscape is littered with players who struggled in year one and got much better later.
Here's why he's going to buck that trend in 2012.
Jeffery walks into a situation much better than most rookie wide receivers. He's not the white knight coming to save the franchise. He's not destined to be the No. 1 wide receiver this year.
He's got a very solid crew around him: Brandon Marshall to take the attention, Earl Bennett as another outlet, Kellen Davis and, with Matt Forte in the fold again, the best backfield in the NFC North.
The attention that will be diverted his way will be minimal—it's just a practical reality. It will be a while before they decide he's more dangerous than anyone else this side of Devin Hester.
This is going to free him up in a way a lot of other rookie wide receivers don't get a chance to see, which will, in turn, allow him to make more plays.
At the same time, his ability allows for the possibility that he could start the year as the No. 2 wide receiver. Opportunity is a big factor in mediocre numbers for rookies. They just don't see the field enough.
He's also got a very good quarterback in Jay Cutler and a new offense. While the new offense will take some time to get together, Jeffery has been working with the team since almost immediately after the draft.
The team signed him and got him in house, and he's been working with Cutler and the rest of the offense since.
Some will point to the weight concerns haunting him pre-draft, but I've felt that was overblown for some time. Perhaps the Bears were concerned or perhaps they wanted him at the facility as soon as possible in order to accelerate his acclimatization to the NFL way of life.
Who will be the number two at the start of the season?
Either way, he's been there, and that is a tremendous advantage over many rookies who hold out or otherwise miss camp.
Alshon Jeffery doesn't have blazing 40 speed and wasn't one of the top players coming out of the 2012 draft class. He's able to get open using his long strides, forcing his way past defenders with his build and is not afraid to go get a ball.
I could easily see him top 60 receptions and 700 yards this year.
Everyone is talking Brandon Marshall-Jay Cutler these days. They should; that promises to be a tremendous duo.
Don't sleep on Jeffery, though. I'm not ready to get on the Rookie of the Year train yet, but I have my bags by the door, just in case.
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