Alshon Jeffery

Draft Grades: Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears addressed their most glaring need by trading for Brandon Marshall earlier this offseason, but continued an aggressive approach during the draft. They made some bold moves in an effort to catch the Packers and keep pace with the Lions. But if they don’t pan out, it could prove to be a rough start to GM Phil Emery’s career.

I jumped aboard the Shea McClellin bandwagon this offseason, but he’s not a top 20 talent and I’m not sure how he fits in Chicago. McClellin excelled in 2011 based on his performance in a hybrid end/linebacker role at Boise State. In Chicago, however, he’ll likely revert back to playing the traditional 4-3 end role. When playing with his hand on the ground, McClellin looked simply ordinary, so I’m not sure what the Bears thought they saw. He would  have been better off landing in a 3-4 defense.

Alshon Jeffery was worth a 2nd-round pick, but I’m not sure he had value here for the Bears. Their receiving corps is suddenly crowded and it’s tough to imagine him playing a significant role as long as Brandon Marshall is ahead of him on the depth chart. He does have some developmental value, but if they’re trying to win now, there were other impact players on the board.

Brandon Hardin was a definite reach in the 3rd round. He’ll compete for playing time at strong safety, but will need to beat out Major Wright and Craig Steltz.

Evan Rodriguez was also a reach. He’ll likely shift to fullback, and it’s tough to justify filling that need as early as the 4th round.

Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy will compete for a job in the Bears secondary, but it’s fairly crowded back there. The top four corners are essentially set in stone, leaving Frey and McCoy to compete for one roster spot. It’s tough to imagine both players surviving the final cuts in training camp.

The Bears potentially added two starters in this draft class, but both McClellin and Jeffery are big risks. Neither players put together a consistent collegiate career, which raises some concern. Emery’s approach to this draft felt like a desperate attempt to make a splash. It may pay off down the road, but he did very little to help them in the immediate future. Overall, this was a very average haul for the Bears.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bears, Draft Grades - 2012 Comments Off

Chicago Bears select Alshon Jeffery, Grade B+

Alshon Jeffery has a ton of talent and potential, but there were good reasons why he fell to the 2nd round. That said, at this point in the draft he is well worth the risk for the Chicago Bears.

The only concern I have is the fact that they’re pairing a receiver with work ethic and effort issues with Brandon Marshall, who isn’t exactly a great role model. I would be more comfortable with this selection if the Bears had a better leadership situation on offense.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Bears Comments Off

Titans looking to draft a receiver?

When healthy, Kenny Britt is a legitimate No. 1. But the Tennessee Titans may be looking for some insurance behind Britt, who is coming off a devastating season-ending knee injury.

The Titans have met with Michael Floyd and Alshon Jeffery, both of whom will be either 1st or 2nd round picks.

It may be tough for the Titans to land Floyd, who will likely be gone before the Titans are on the clock. Jeffery, however, could be an option in either the 1st or 2nd round.

It’s worth noting that both Floyd and Jeffery are considered possession receivers, and have to the ability to fight for the ball in traffic. Targeting this type of receiver makes sense if the Titans plan to use second-year quarterback Jake Locker for the majority of the 2012 season.

For more info, follow our Draft Visit Tracker, updated daily. 

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Titans Comments Off

5 Players with the most at stake at Combine

1. Alshon Jeffery – WR – South Carolina
Jeffery has been battled weight issues throughout his career and, as a result, some believe he lacks the explosion to separate from coverage at the next level. He’s had plenty of time to get into shape since the season ended, so if he fails to demonstrate adequate athleticism and agility at the combine, it will raise some red flags which could send him tumbling down draft boards.

2. Janoris Jenkins – CB – North Alabama
We know Jenkins can play – we saw that at the Senior Bowl – but can will anyone be willing to take a chance on his character? He’ll be high on the list of guys teams are most interested in speaking with at the combine and he will need to be prepared to answer some difficult questions about the issues which led to his dismissal from Florida.

Floyd's injury history and alcohol issues will be under scrutiny in Indy

3. Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame
While Floyd is coming off a strong senior year, he has a long history of both character and injury concerns. He missed time in 2008 (knee injury) and 2009 (collarbone) and was involved in multiple alcohol-related run-ins with the law during his collegiate career. As a result, his medical check-up and his interviews will be crucial in determining his place on draft boards.

4. Quentin Coples – DE – North Carolina
From the standpoint of pure athleticism, Coples may be the most talented player in this year’s draft class. But his production on the field rarely showed that ability, especially during his senior year. Teams will be interested to hear his explanation for his disappearing act. Does he take responsibility for his failures? Or does he blame it on others?

5. Vontaze Burfict – LB – Arizona State
Like Coples, Burfict clearly has the raw talent to play at the next level. However, he consistently found himself struggling to handle the mental side of the game. Burfict should be prepared for some difficult questions during the interview process. Teams may try to rile him up to see just how he reacts under pressure. Teams will also be interested to hear him explain away his numerous unsportsmanlike conduct penalties over the  years, and will be hoping to hear him take responsibility for his actions.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

49ers in market for “big stature receiver”

The 49ers ended the season with three active receivers, one of which is now the least popular man in San Francisco. So it comes as no surprise that Jim Harbaugh wants to address the position this offseason.

Following the season, Harbaugh spoke about the issues at receiver and lamented the failure of Braylon Edwards. He stated “we were looking for that big stature receiver” when acquiring Edwards, but due to injuries and ineffectiveness he was released midseason.

Fortunately for the Niners, there are a number of “big stature” receivers who should come off the board in the first few rounds. Here are

Michael Floyd, Notre Dame [scouting report] – There’s a good chance Floyd will be off the board by the time the 49ers are on the clock, but if they’re serious about addressing this concern they may consider trading up. Aside from Justin Blackmon, Floyd is the most well-rounded receiver in this year’s class.

Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina [scouting report] – Jeffery’s stock has fallen dramatically this season, but could still be an option in the late 1st round for the 49ers. His inconsistent play may scare some teams off, but he has the skill set to make an immediate impact in the red zone which is what the 49ers really need.

Dwight Jones, North Carolina [scouting report] - Like Jeffery, Jones has some issues with consistency, but at 6’4″ he could be a relatively cheap option for them in the late 2nd round. He won’t challenge Michael Crabtree for the role of No. 1 receiver any time soon, but if they’re primarily interested in a red-zone threat, Jones could be a good fit.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, 49ers 2 Comments

All-Overrated “Team”

Here is my pre-Senior Bowl all-overrated “team.” It’s not exactly a full team because certain positions don’t have a truly overrated prospect… yet. Depending on the media’s reaction to the Senior Bowl and/or Combine, players could drop off the list, or earn their way onto the roster in the coming months.

QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M
Every year a quarterback or two see their stock inflated due to team needs. Tannehill is this year’s victim.
RB LaMichael James Oregon
James is an impressive athlete with speed to burn, but he isn’t an every-down back.
RB Chris Rainey Florida
Much like James, Rainey is heralded for his speed, but he will be limited to special teams duty in the NFL.
WR Alshon Jeffery South Carolina
There’s no denying Jeffery’s raw ability, but his inconsistency raises a big red flag.
WR Nick Toon Wisconsin
Toon was a productive college receiver who benefitted from Russell Wilson’s prescence in 2011. He’s a 3rd or 4th option in the NFL at best.
TE Coby Fleener Stanford
Fleener is my top rated tight end, but that’s exactly why he’s being overrated. He’s just the best of a mediocre class.
OT Jonathan Martin Stanford
Martin will be a fine pro, but not at left tackle. Anyone who falls for the hype will be moving him to the right side, or to guard, within three years.
OT Mike Adams Ohio State
Adams certainly looks the part, but he’s terribly soft and not especially quickon his feet.
DE Quinton Coples North Carolina
You can put together a highlight real that makes Coples look like a top-five pick… but you can’t find a single game where he shows it from start to finish.
DE Jack Crawford Penn State
Crawford never lived up to expectations at Penn State despite his impressive athleticism.
DT Alameda Ta’amu Washington
Ta’amu has the size to play nose tackle, which boosts his stock significantly, but he may not have the stamina to be a three-down lineman.
LB Zach Brown North Carolina
Brown is an athlete, but he’s undersized and will get pushed around by NFL linemen.
LB Bruce Irvin West Virginia
Irvin flashes elite athleticism at times, but he had to fight for playing time throughout his career due to inconsistent performances.
LB Vontaze Burfict Arizona State
Top-10 talent, undraftable character. Not worth the trouble.
CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama
See above.
CB Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska
I have a hard time understanding where the 1st-round love for Dennard comes from. He’s a physical corner and his injury prone – a bad combo.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Evaluating the top receivers in 2012 draft class

I’ve spent some time over the past couple days going over the top receivers in this year’s draft class. There are five guys who clearly stand out above the rest and, barring any dramatic events in the upcoming months (arrests, injuries, etc), I’ve setting on my rankings for each.

1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Blackmon is the obvious top choice. He’s a physical freak who has the size and speed to dominate from Day One. The only thing that can keep Blackmon from developing into a Pro Bowl receiver is himself. He was arrested on a DUI charge in 2010, and his effort on the field hasn’t always been 100%. But he appeared to step up his game in 2011, staying out of trouble and staying more focused on the field.

Wright is a legitimate top-20 talent

2. Kendall Wright, Baylor
Michael Floyd and Alshon Jeffery have been No. 2 on most boards throughout the season, but after watching Wright dominate in some of his toughest matchups this season (vs Oklahoma, Texas), I’m bumping him up into this slot. Five years ago it would have been tough to rank Wright this high. But the NFL passing game has been changing in recent years and we’re seeing more undersized receivers emerge as a legitimate No. 1 targets (Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, etc). Wright has all the tools necessary to join that group and be a game-changer at the next level.  Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Alshon Jeffery scouting report

Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina #1
Ht: 6’4″

Wt: 230

Strengths:
Elite size and strength; a matchup nightmare in the red zone. Excellent hands. Does a nice job going up and plucking the ball out of the air, never even giving defenders a chance to get their hands on it. Has the strength to fight through press coverage. Tough for most defensive backs to bring him down; does a nice job using the stiff arm to keep defenders at bay. Surprisingly elusive for his size. Occasionally will deliver a big hit as a blocker; has the ability to dominate in this area if he wants to put forth the effort.
Weaknesses:
Fundamentals are lacking in all aspects of the game; route running, blocking, etc. Lacks the speed to consistently get open down the field; won’t outrun many defensive backs. Poor effort as a blocker; has the ability to dominate, but doesn’t even pretend to be interested half the time. Needs to learn how to run with the football; carries it away from his body too often, putting him at risk for fumbles. Gets easily frustrated by physical cornerbacks who jam him at the line of scrimmage. Ejected from 2012 Capitol One Bowl for fighting with Nebraska’s Alfonzo Dennard. Missed spring practices in 2010 due to an “academic issue.”
Comments:
Jeffery has the skills to be an elite receiver at the next level, but there are some red flags that should give teams concern about his ability to reach his full potential. South Carolina coaches have publicly praised him for his work ethic and leadership ability, but when you look at his primary flaws it’s tough not to question their sincerity. Given his size, strength and athleticism, it’s tough to find a logical excuse for his struggles with basic fundamentals such as blocking and route running other than a lack of effort. If he wants to be great, there is no doubt that Jeffery can succeed at the next level, but NFL teams should do a great deal of homework on his motivation level before investing a high pick.
Videos:
2011 vs Nebraska (bowl game)
2011 vs Auburn
2011 vs Kentucky 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off

Should I stay or should I go?

Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford
Luck stated before the season that his junior year would likely be his last in Palo Alto, and it’s a wise decision. He has very little to gain by sticking around, especially if his top offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin bolt for the NFL as well. Decision: Go

Barley's stock could soar in 2012

Matt Barkley – QB – USC
This is going to be a tough decision for Barkley. He could be the second quarterback off the board, but he could also experience a draft day fall. Landry Jones, Robert Griffin and Ryan Tannehill are also 1st-round possibilities who could leap-frog Barkley during the offseason. If he sticks around he could be the No. 1 pick in 2013.
Decision: Stay

Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU
It will be tough for Claiborne’s stock to get any higher. If he sticks around for another year he may not even be the best draft-eligible cornerback on his own team in 2012 (Tyrann Mathieu will be a junior next year). This should be an easy decision for the potential top-five pick. Decision: Go

Alshon Jeffery – WR – South Carolina
It’s been a somewhat disappointing season for Jeffery, which normally means a player should stick around. But with South Carolina’s shaky quarterback play there’s no reason to believe 2012 will be any better. It’s time to move on. Decision: Go

Dwayne Allen – TE – Clemson
This is a weak class for tight ends, and Allen may be tempted to leave as he will be considered the top prospect at the position by many. However, Clemson has taken major strides as a program this year and will enter 2012 as a dark-horse title contender. Allen could further boost his stock with another solid season as one of Tajh Boyd’s go-to weapons. Decision: Stay

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off