Compared to the other five wideouts drafted in the first round in 2020, Jerry Jeudy’s output has not met the expectations befitting a No. 15 overall pick.
Playing with four different quarterbacks, his own inconsistencies and a high ankle sprain that limited him to 10 games in 2021 have led to Jeudy failing to break out the way some of his peers have. He has just three career touchdowns receptions, none last year.
But Jeudy believes 2022 will be a different story, in part because he has nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson throwing to him.
“There are things you can control and things you can’t control,” Jeudy said. “Those first two years are gone now, so I’m just focused on this year… (Wilson) will help me a lot. He’s a great quarterback — a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback that came to the offense as a leader. He’s getting me better as well.”
Among the six wideouts drafted in the first round in 2020, Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson is the only one that’s a bonafide star. After setting an NFL rookie record with 1,400 receiving yards in 2020, Jefferson followed that up with another Pro Bowl season in 2021 (1,616 yards, 10 touchdowns).
The Broncos passed on Jefferson in favor of Jeudy, and Minnesota selected Jefferson with the No. 22 overall pick out of LSU. Jeudy ranks fourth among the 2020 first-round wideouts with 90 catches (Jefferson is first at 196), fourth with 1,323 yards (Jefferson is first at 3,016) and tied for last with Philadelphia’s Jalen Reagor in TD catches (Jefferson is first with 17).
But count Wilson as one who doesn’t care about Jeudy’s speed-bumps prior to this year.
“(Jeudy) is a star,” Wilson said last month. “He’s a guy that can get open. A guy that can kill guys at the line. Can match up against different guys. Can go attack the ball and snag it off their head… There’s just so many different things that he’s been able to do.”
In addition to the Broncos’ quarterback issues the past couple years, Jeudy’s erratic play has also held him back. There are moments when Jeudy looks like he can be a game-changing vertical force like Jefferson. But there’s also been games that have left Broncos fans wondering if Jeudy will ever fulfill his first-round potential.
As a rookie, Jeudy had 52 catches for 856 yards while playing in all 16 games, but he also recorded a team-high 10 drops, ranking second-worst among all NFL wideouts. That included five drops in Week 15 against the Chargers. Last year, after 27 catches in the team’s first six games, Jeudy had only five catches over his final three games and finished tied for third on the team with 10 “explosive” catches (gains of at least 16 yards).
Jeudy’s main focuses this offseason were taking care of his body and learning the Broncos’ playbook under first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett. He said he’s already benefited from the “energy” of his new quarterback.
Jeudy missed the first offensive workout at Wilson’s house in California because of the birth of his second daughter, but was at the second workout at the quarterback’s compound, then further meshed with No. 3 during voluntary veteran minicamp.
“(Wilson is) always uplifting guys and always motivating guys to go out there and keep working hard,” Jeudy said. “On your off days when you don’t feel like working or doing anything, he’s the guy that comes up to you and gets your mind right for it. That’s a great guy for me to be around.”
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