Bears quarterback Jay Cutler spent much of his first three years with the Bears worried about the lack of big receivers. It appears that someone is finally listening.
In the second round Friday night the Bears traded up to claim WR Alshon Jeffery and followed that up with TE Evan Rodriguez in the fourth.
Cutler once described WR Devin Hester as “not really a back shoulder or jump-up-and-get-it [guy].” He didn’t say it but he was probably thinking of former Broncos and now current Bears WR Brandon Marshall when he made the statement. He definitely won’t be saying it about Jeffery who was described by the Chicago Tribune as a “post-up” WR. GM Phil Emery called him the best wide receiver in the draft at adjusting to the ball:
He should be a hand full as long as he keeps his weight under control. Dan Pompei at the Tribune comments:
“With hops like that, 33-inch arms and a 6-foot-3 frame, Jeffery can be a matchup nightmare. He can catch the ball away from his body, so he takes advantage of his length and explosion. As long as his belly isn’t lined up offsides, Jeffery can force coverage adjustments.
“It’s difficult for NFL secondaries to match up with one big receiver. It’s almost impossible for them to match up with two. The Bears now have two — Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.”
Indeed, if one were to pick a current NFL player that Jeffery is most like, its Marshall.
Rodriguez will will help Cutler in a more subtle way. He will stretch the field as a vertical tight end. Emery comments:
The Rodriguez pick has offensive coordinator Mike Tice written all over it. Tice, who used the tight end to effect as the head coach of the Vikings, would have never settled for a receiving tight end who couldn’t block like Greg Olsen. Instead the Bears found him a guy who can catch the ball but who, they hope, will be a good enough blocker to force defenses to respect the run by staying in thier base scheme. If that’s true, he’s going to be a great asset as another big target while helping the passing offense indirectly by improving the running game.
As he stated in the Alshon Jeffery clip above, Emery’s draft partly aimed to be about adding offensive weapons. Somewhere Jay Cutler is smiling.