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Alshon Jeffery has the best hands in the draft, Bears say

Alshon Jeffery, Stanley Jean-Baptiste

South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, right, grabs a pass over Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste (16) for a 51-yard touchdown as time expires in the first half of the Capital One Bowl NCAA college football game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)


Six wide receivers went off the board before Chicago drafted Alshon Jeffery in the middle of the second round, but the Bears believe they got the bet pass catcher of the bunch.

We feel Alshon has the best hands in the draft,” Bears General Manager Phil Emery said. “We feel he is the best at adjusting to the ball. We feel he is the best sideline and end zone catcher in the draft. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. He’s a big man, he’s strong, he’s tough. He doesn’t go down easy. He’s a good route runner for the routes they put him in. I was at his pro day workout, which was outstanding.”

Entering the 2011 college football season, plenty of people would have agreed with Emery that Jeffery was going to be the best receiver in the 2012 draft. But Jeffery had a disappointing season, with his production dropping from 88 catches for 1,517 yards in 2010 to 49 catches for 762 yards in 2011. As a result, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick and Stephen Hill all ended up going ahead of him in the draft.

But Jeffery said his statistical decline was misleading.

“We found that teams were going to double-, triple-team us and give us the run, so we were going to run the ball a lot more,” Jeffery said. “It was just one of those things. We won 11 games, we broke school records, so it worked out for us.”

If Jeffery is as good as Emery thinks he is, this pick will work out for the Bears in a big way.