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Bryant Faces Uphill Battle To Fulfill Irvin’s MVP Prediction

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ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 02:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a touchdown pass reception against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Dez Bryant reeled in 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – No one can deny that Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has become a top target in the NFL.

In 2012 — his third season — Bryant reeled in 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 13 touchdowns.

But former Cowboys wide receiver and Hall of Fame member Michael Irvin is taking the Dez praise to a whole new level.

“Watching Dez Bryant now and the way he’s understanding the game, I’m expecting to hear these words at the conclusion of this season. MVP, 2013 of the league will be Dez Bryant. Trust me. Trust me,” said Irvin Wednesday on the NFL Network.

While Irvin undoubtedly knows the position, wide receivers rarely win the award. In fact, it last happened in 1987.

In Jerry Rice’s MVP season, he collected 65 receptions for 1,078 yards and a then record 22 touchdowns — all in 12 games. Eagles’ receiver Mike Quick was second in reception touchdowns; he reached the endzone 11 times.

More recently, Calvin Johnson had a dominating 2011 season, leading all receivers with 1,681 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns.

Fifty media members voted; Johnson received a grand total of zero votes.

Since Rice’s historic MVP season of 1987, nine running backs and 16 quarterbacks have captured the award. Receivers rarely get consideration.

For Bryant to win the award, it would take a special effort — one Irvin thinks the new No. 88 is fully capable of.

“I never thought he had the capabilities of understanding the game the way he understands the game,” said Irvin. “He is going to be a beast this season.”

While Bryant steered clear of off-the-field distractions and claims to have “found” himself this offseason, significant improvement will be required to fulfill Irvin’s prophecy.

Bryant doesn’t lack motivation.

“I’m going to make sure I’m the best at what I do,” said Bryant in Oxnard at Cowboys training camp.

Unfortunately for Bryant — and Irvin — that may not be good enough to capture the NFL’s top award.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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