Selected after Alabama teammate Henry Ruggs III, who went 12th overall to Las Vegas, Jerry Jeudy was the second wide receiver taken during the 2020 NFL draft. After Denver traded Emmanuel Sanders, halfway through the 2019 season, the Broncos needed someone to line up with Courtland Sutton. Jeudy is a projected Week 1 starter, and FanDuel has set his over/under at 5.5 touchdowns. UNDER (-126) is the favorite while OVER (-102) is the underdog.
Meet the Broncos’ Newest Weapon: Jerry Jeudy
Following in the footsteps of former Alabama star wide receivers Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Calvin Ridley, Jeudy enters the NFL after three seasons with the Crimson Tide. Quiet as a freshman, Jeudy recorded stats in eight games and finished his first season with 264 yards and two touchdowns. His numbers were low partly due to Ridley being the main target in Alabama during his final season. After Atlanta drafted Ridley, Jeudy took over the WR1 role.
Playing all 15 games, Jeudy was a favorite target for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in 2018. As a sophomore, Jeudy caught 68 passes and set career-highs with 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. He received the 2018 Biletnikoff Award, as the nation’s top wide receiver, and earned consensus first-team All-American honors. He was the leading receiver in seven games and helped the Tide roll to a 14-0 record before losing to Clemson in the 2019 National Championship game.
Returning for his junior season, Jeudy set another career-high with 77 receptions for 1,163 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. Jeudy lined up outside and in the slot in the Crimson Tide spread offense which shows he was well-schooled for Nick Saban’s pro-style offense. With solid size (6-foot-1) and speed (4.45 40-yard dash), Jeudy is a prolific route-runner. He enters the NFL with a skill set that makes him a scoring threat each time he catches a pass.
Broncos’ Offensive 2019 Offense
Denver finished as a bottom-five passing offense (194.7 YPG) and scored a league-low 16 TD via the pass last season. In his rookie season, quarterback Drew Lock tossed seven touchdowns as he started the final five games and led the Broncos to a 4-1 record. Courtland Sutton recorded a solid sophomore season, as he was the Broncos’ leading receiver with 1,112 yards and six scores. Tight end Noah Fant was second with 562 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his notable rookie season.
The 2020 Denver offense will look significantly different than it did last season. Melvin Gordon arrived as a free agent and is expected to start at running back. Phillip Lindsay slots in as the Broncos RB2, and he and Gordon are both pass-catching threats out of the backfield. Entering his third season, Sutton will be the WR1, with Jeudy as the WR2 and fellow rookie K.J. Hamler as the WR3. With ages in brackets – the Denver depth chart is stacked with young talent.
- QB1: Drew Lock (23)
- RB1: Melvin Gordon (27)
- RB2: Phillip Lindsay (25)
- WR1: Courtland Sutton (24)
- WR2: Jerry Jeudy (21)
- WR3: K.J. Hamler (20)
- TE1: Noah Fant (22)
What Does History Tell Us About Rookie Receivers?
In today’s pass-happy NFL, top rookie wide receivers are being asked to contribute right out of the gate. Based on Jeudy’s 5.5 touchdown total, six first-year receivers caught at least six touchdowns during the 2019 season. The number dipped to just two in 2018, one in 2017, and rose to three in 2016. Two rookies surpassed the number in 2015, and seven receivers from the stellar 2014 rookie draft hauled in at least six touchdowns. Jeudy will join those ranks.
Bottom Line: After winning Super Bowl 50, Denver has missed the playoffs each of the last four years. Based on the projected starters above, the Broncos rebuild on offense appears close to being complete. That said, there are now lots of hands to feed, and Jeudy’s production will hinge on developing an early connection with Lock. With Sutton drawing top corners, Jeudy will be able to use his game-breaking skill set to catch at least six touchdown passes this season.
The Play: OVER 5.5 Receiving Touchdowns (-102)
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