David “Sho” Showalter
August 23, 2014
If you ask any analyst who the best young receivers are, 10 times out of 10, they’d say A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, and Dez Bryant with no hesitation. Given all their track records it’s pretty hard to make a case against these studs being the top, up and coming, elite wide outs. But what about Alshon Jeffery?
This underrated receiver, in his second year as a pro broke out for 89 receptions on a massive 150 targets for 1,421 yards and 7 touchdowns. After having a monster season like that, you’d think people wouldn’t shut up about him. Instead, his success was met with caution and uncertainty that he’d continue to perform at that level. A reason for these tempered expectations is because Jay Cutler overly favors Brandon Marshall. This is a misconception that many people have.
The thought that Josh McCown favored Jeffery over Marshall seems to be universal around the league. But when faced with the facts you’ll be quite surprised. In the games only McCown started (games 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13) the targets were actually identical at 52 each. Wait what? Mind blown right!?
On the flip side, during the games only Cutler started, Marshall barely over took Jeffery with 89 targets to 73. This really isn’t as huge a difference given the relationship Cutler and Marshall have had on and off the field over the course of their careers.
Now that the fog from this myth has been lifted, let’s refresh everyone’s memory that Jeffery was the best receiver in the SEC in 2010. It’s easy to see that he completely DOMINATED the conference that year with 88 catches for 1,517 yards and 9 touchdowns. Yes I used all caps because when you have almost 400 more than the next receiver, 384 to be exact, it’s justified. Who was the next receiver I wonder? Mr. Julio Jones, the receiver held in much higher regard. Jones posted a 78-1,113-7 stat line and Green had 57-848-9 that same year. Both of these “studs” were blown out of the water by Jeffery. Seems like a lack of logic.
Another plus for Jeffery is his fluid situation. Out of Jeffery, Jones, and Green, he is the only receiver whose situation didn’t change, but instead got better. In the offseason this year Marshall was able to train instead of rehabbing his hip from surgery. Last year he was still successful despite not being able to train due to his surgery. Marshall is gonna be a monster this year. Plus one for Jeffery! Jones, from a target perspective, is in a better situation, but with the loss of the ageless wonder, Tony Gonzales, cannot be understated. With Gonzales being gone, coverage will roll even more towards Jones. People don’t take into consideration the adverse effect this could have on Jones’s numbers. Green’s new offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, runs a scheme that’s more run orientated and wants to control the game clock. Paired with an uncertainty that Marvin Jones can be the threat, opposite of Green, the Bengals need; Green also seems to be in a less than ideal situation. Jeffery is the most likely of the three to repeat his success or even surpass it.
With all that said, any of these beasts are a safe bet to draft as a cornerstone of your dynasty team. So let people talk up the other receivers, draft them first, and you can be the one to smirk while drafting Jeffery knowing the steal you just got. The receiver I believe could very well surpass all of them and possibly, one day be the best receiver in the league.