5 Reasons Why Chicago Bears’ Alshon Jeffery Belongs In NFL MVP Discussion
Alshon Jeffery: 5 Reasons Why He Deserves MVP Considerations
Peyton Manning will win the NFL MVP award in 2014. He is on pace to have the best statistical season for a quarterback in the history of the league.
Talking about other players winning the MVP award at this point seems ludicrous, but in a season where Aaron Rodgers and Sam Bradford were knocked out for multiple games or had their season ended, it is worth discussing who would enter the MVP discussion if an injury were to strike down Peyton Manning in Week 15.
In the absence of Manning, the list of possible MVP candidates would include names like Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Jamaal Charles and Calvin Johnson. However, there is one wide receiver on a playoff contender who is currently playing at an even higher level than Megatron: Alshon Jeffery.
As the head of the NFL’s new class of bigger, faster, stronger wide receivers, Jeffery’s name has not been mentioned in MVP discussions, in part because he came into the league with low expectations.
Leading up the to 2012 NFL Draft, scouts questioned if he had adequate speed and quickness to separate from defensive backs at the next level. The Bears ignored criticisms of Jeffery's work ethic and attention to detail and took him with 45th overall pick. GM Phil Emery liked what he saw from the junior out of South Carolina. At 6-foot-3, 216 pounds, Emery saw a player with tremendous size and strength as well as terrific hands. His long strides have also allowed him to develop into the league's preeminent deep threat.
He is the the wide receiver you would create in a lab, and now his on-field performance is catching up to his physical tools.
5. Jeffery Makes Contested Catches
Elite receivers at the NFL level are separated by their ability to make contested catches in traffic and secure 50-50 balls on the outside. Jeffery has the strength and body control to bully smaller defensive backs, and then snatch curls, outs and slants before quickly pivoting upfield.
4. The Bears' Second-Leading Rusher
Alshon Jeffery is the second-leading rusher on the Bears with 114 yards rushing on 8.8 yards per attempt. He is second in the NFL in rushing yards amongst wide receivers. Only Tavon Austin, who is not being used as a traditional receiver in 2013, has more.
At 6-foot-3", Jeffery is also the tallest non-quarterback to top 100 yards rushing in 2013. It is truly an impressive feat for a player of his dimensions to regularly line up in the backfield, because he must be tough enough to absorb the punishment and athletic enough to accelerate quickly while maintaining a low pad level.
3. A Unique Deep Threat
A long strider in the Randy Moss mold, Alshon Jeffery is averaging 15.8 yards per reception. Watching from afar, he does not appear fast to the naked eye, but at field level, he glides 15 yards in three steps.
There are plenty of NFL receivers will elite long speed, though. What sets Jeffery apart is his ability to concentrate while running full speed in order to make acrobatic catches on a weekly basis.
2. Brandon Marshall Thinks Jeffery Could Be The Best
Here is what Brandon Marshall recently had to say about Alshon Jeffery: "I've always said this guy could be the best to ever do it. He's probably going to shatter all the Bears' records by the time he's done at the receiver position."
Teammates are prone to hyperbole, but when a second-year receiver eclipses 200 yards two times in a single season, it is hard not to imagine him compiling Hall of Fame numbers over a full career. He may soon add an MVP trophy to his list of accomplishments.
1. Sparking A Playoff Surge
Most MVPs lead their team into playoffs, and Alshon Jeffery's play has vaulted the Bears into contention in the NFC North. If he continues to post monster games like last week's 12 catches, 249 yards and two touchdowns, the Bears will surely be playoff-bound, and Jeffery's name could be in the league MVP discussion.