Selected 15th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jerry Jeudy was viewed as the best receiver in the class. He was taken over CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson, who have flourished so far. Because of this, many call Jeudy a bust without considering the circumstances.
CeeDee Lamb was put into a top-ten offense in the NFL, and there was no question Dak Prescott would get him the ball. Justin Jefferson was in a similar situation, with a proven quarterback in Kirk Cousins. Both were in a situation where the offenses were proven, but Denver’s wasn’t.
At the time Jeudy was selected, Drew Lock looked like the answer. He took over the offense and played great other than one game against the Chiefs. It was clear that Denver needed to add more offensively to help Lock. Unfortunately, the combination of incomitance in the coaching staff and poor performance from Lock showed he wasn’t the answer. Jeudy’s rookie season did not go as planned, and due to injuries, he didn’t produce.
In his second season, Denver brought in Teddy Bridgewater who ultimately won the starting job. While Bridgewater did a solid job as the starter, Jeudy suffered a high-ankle sprain keeping him out for multiple weeks. Then injuries started to hit the Broncos hard, Drew Lock came back and once again the situation is what held Jeudy back.
The following off-season Denver acquired Russell Wilson, which benefited Jeudy the most. Along with bringing in Nathaniel Hackett, the offense looked great and primed to finally put up points. As we’ve seen that wasn’t the case, but Jerry Jeudy finally broke out.
He started producing consistently and emerged as the top receiver late in the season. In the final five games, Jeudy totaled 458 yards, and three touchdowns. He was used as a deep threat and was unstoppable.
Why Jeudy is overlooked
Jerry Jeudy is overlooked because of what Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb have done. They’ve emerged as top receivers in the NFL, but if the role were reversed, Jeudy would be an elite receiver.
Jeudy has had a total of 3 coaches, entering his fourth season. The good news is Jeudy finally has an offensive-minded head coach who will utilize him correctly. There has been no problem with his ability to create separation against defenders, it’s the quarterback getting him the ball.
Sean Payton has shown with the Saints his ability to correctly utilize every player on the field, and he will unlock Jeudy’s full potential. Now, a huge factor is the performance of Russell Wilson.
One of the biggest factors that contributes to Jeudy’s future success is Russell Wilson’s ability to bounce back. Wilson had the worst season of his career in 2022, battling injuries, and overall looking terrible.
When we talk about injuries, Wilson has missed very few times in his career because he’s stayed healthy. This season, he suffered a partial muscle tear in his right shoulder, a hamstring injury, a knee injury which reported impacted Wilson for multiple seasons, and a concussion.
He had to play through a lot last season and will look to be fully healthy for training camp.
Diving into the metrics
While the typical statistics may not support Jeudy’s case, let’s take a look at the advanced statistics.
The first being drop percentage, which is something that Jeudy’s greatly improved on since his rookie year. Last season, his drop percentage was 5. His percentage ranks higher than the following players: Travis Kelce (5.3%), Stefon Diggs (5.2%), Ja’Marr Chase (8.2%), Amari Cooper (9.1%), Jaylen Waddle (6%), and Deebo Samuel (9.6%).
Second is YAC/R, in which Jeudy comes in at 5.9. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this stat, it is yards after catch per reception. This is higher than Justin Jefferson (4.9), Tyreek Hill (4.1), CeeDee Lamb (4.5), Davante Adams (4.9), and Cooper Kupp (5.6). This statistic shows that Jeudy is an elite playmaker when the ball is in his hands.
The last statistic is passer rating when targeted. This season Jerry Jeudy had a rating of 110.1. This is the highest rating by a wide receiver since he was drafted, proving that he’s establishing himself as a top threat to opposing defenses.
The advanced statistics prove that Jerry Jeudy is an elite receiver, he just hasn’t had the right coach along with a consistent quarterback to prove it.