Saturday, May 25, 2013
Alshon Jeffery, Harrison Smith to break out
By Kevin Seifert
In this ESPN Insider piece, Matt Bowen identifies two NFC North players among five projections of second-yearmen destined for breakout years. You'll need an Insider subscription to read the entire post, but I can sneak you the gist of it below. Just don't tell anyone else.
Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery
Bowen snippet: "As a rookie, the wideout struggled at times to create separation at the top of the route stem (break point) versus tight coverage. But when I saw Jeffery this spring in the Bears' veteran minicamp here in Chicago, he looked much more polished when sinking his hips and working back to the football."
Seifert comment: Jeffery will get every opportunity to break out this season given the Bears' current depth at the position. They really only have two other established receivers alongside him in Brandon Marshall and Earl Bennett. Tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte should get plenty of looks as well.
Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith
Bowen snippet: "Smith has the range, understands angles to the football and can play down in the run front (Cover 1, Cover 3) or off the top of the numbers (Cover 2 landmark) in the Vikings' two-deep shell."
Seifert comment: That's a more specific way of saying that Smith is versatile enough, and has diverse-enough skills, to play in most any way an NFL team would ask a safety to. The Vikings play plenty of Cover 2, which usually pushes it safeties deep. But Smith is a playmaker whose potential for growth remains high.