"We feel he is the best at adjusting to the ball. We feel he is the best sideline and end zone catcher in the draft. He's dynamic with the ball in his hands. He's a big man, he's strong, he's tough. He doesn't go down easy. He's a good route runner for the routes they put him in. I was at his pro day workout, which was outstanding."
The Bears traded up five spots to get Jeffery in the second round, and they obviously feel positive about his abilities on the field. So, just what are the Bears getting for their money with Alshon Jeffery? Let's take a look.
Jeffrey was the sixth wide receiver taken in this year's draft, and although he might not be up to the level of a Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd, I think the Bears have snagged themselves a receiver with a lot of upside that could develop into something special.
The first thing that springs to mind is his size. At 6'4 and 230 lbs, he will present a massive target for quarterback Jay Cutler. However, it has been his weight that has caused much discussion. In his final season at South Carolina, he was close to 240 lbs, but then turned up at the combine and tipped the scales at 216 lbs. (My wife says she'd love to know his secret).
This is what Emery had to say:
"When you challenge him and push him a little bit, which I did in our meeting about his weight and where he was at in his production, his answers come back strong. This guy does not lack athletic confidence. He knows he's good, which is a good thing. He knows he has to work to continue to get better. The more and more you watch of his tape, the more you see the competitiveness. This is not a lazy guy. When he gets the ball in his hands, he's working to score. He doesn't give up. I don't see give up in this guy in any area."
He needs to maintain a consistent weight if he is going to fulfil his potential, and I think something around the 225 lb range would suit him well. He doesn't have the greatest speed, but his long strides mean he can achieve separation, and once out into the open, he is quick enough to pick up good yardage.
Jeffery is a tough receiver, who is not afraid to catch the ball across the middle, and will absorb the big hits if he needs to. He has great leaping ability, with excellent hands and made some highlight-reel catches during his time at South Carolina.
His blocking is adequate, and he attacks the football well. His height also points to him being productive in the red zone.
Perhaps the biggest question mark is again, his weight. Jeffery might well have been drafted sooner if his weight hadn't seemed to fluctuate so dramatically. Scouts were concerned that if he wasn't able to keep the weight off, then separation would be a problem, as well as open field speed.
But Emery and the rest of the crew obviously saw enough to convince them he was worth taking in the second round.
With Brandon Marshall now in the windy city, the Bears suddenly find themselves armed with two well sized receivers, who have the ability to make a huge impact. When was the last time you could say that about the Bear's receiving corps?
I really feel positive about the Bear's passing game this coming season. I think they finally realized that Devin Hester just wasn't going to work out as a legitimate receiving threat. Don't get me wrong; I think Hester's ability is unrivalled, but it just needs to be utilized in the right way. With Earl Bennett looking to contribute as well, the Bears are well set at wide out, even without Johnny Knox, who looks unlikely to play this year.
The Bears also drafted tight end Evan Rodriguez, although how much he will be able to contribute remains to be seen.
I will go out on a bit of a limb and say this: I think Alshon Jeffery will either be a great receiver for the Bears, or will end up being considered a bit of a bust. I think he has all the skills to be an elite receiver, but whether it comes together is another thing entirely. He'll be playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and could find himself being expected to deliver straight away.
And I believe he will rise to the challenge. I think this is the best the Bears have looked at wide receiver for a long time, and I am excited for Alshon Jeffery to be a part of it.
Here's a little highlight video to get your mouths watering: