Early reports from Broncos camp are favorable for Jerry Jeudy. There's been good chemistry between the second-year wideout and Teddy Bridgewater, the heavy favorite to beat out Drew Lock for the starting job in Denver. How much better might Jeudy be in year 2?
The positive reports need to be taken with a grain of salt, of course. Courtland Sutton is limited while coming back from a torn ACL and Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler have been nursing hamstring injuries, so who else is there for Bridgewater to throw to? Of course Jeudy is a "frequent target." (Even Noah Fant is sidelined, following dental surgery.)
Jeudy did put up 856 receiving yards last year, so his rookie season wasn't a total loss. He dropped too many passes (his catch rate was a pitiful 46 percent), so no question he was a disappointment, but everyone can't be Justin Jefferson.
In any case, I wondered what the odds are of him -- and the other five first-round picks from last year's draft -- being statistically better in Year 2. In general, recent first-rounders have put up better numbers in their second seasons.
Over the past ten years, there have been 34 other first-round wideouts. I decided to ditch eight of those players, since four of them (John Ross, Breshad Perriman, Kevin White, A.J. Jenkins) didn't catch a pass as rookies, and the other four (Laquon Treadwell, Josh Doctson, N'Keal Harry and Mike Williams) put up 105 or fewer yards. Nowhere to go but up from there, so the fact that Harry was "better" statistically in year 2 isn't meaningful. But here are the other 26, all of whom were at least over 300 yards in their first seasons.
Fifteen of them (about 60 percent) were at least 25 percent better (yards) in year 2. Sixteen caught more touchdowns in their second seasons. Only six of the 26 put up fewer yards in year 2 than year 1. That's not bad.
|1ST-ROUND WIDEOUTS, YEAR 1 TO YEAR 2, 2010-PRESENT|
|Year||Pk||Player||Yds||TD||Yds(2)||TD(2)||% +/-||% +/-|
|2017||5||Corey Davis, Tenn.||375||0||891||4||137.6%||400.0%|
|2015||29||Phillip Dorsett, Ind.||225||1||528||2||134.7%||100.0%|
|2014||20||Brandin Cooks, N.O.||550||4||1138||9||106.9%||125.0%|
|2010||22||Demaryius Thomas, Den.||283||2||551||4||94.7%||100.0%|
|2012||13||Michael Floyd, Ariz.||562||2||1041||5||85.2%||150.0%|
|2012||20||Kendall Wright, Tenn.||626||4||1079||2||72.4%||-50.0%|
|2010||24||Dez Bryant, Dall.||561||8||928||9||65.4%||12.5%|
|2013||27||DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.||802||2||1210||6||50.9%||200.0%|
|2015||14||DeVante Parker, Mia.||494||3||744||4||50.6%||33.3%|
|2018||24||D.J. Moore, Car.||788||2||1175||4||49.1%||100.0%|
|2019||25||Marquise Brown, Balt.||584||7||769||8||31.7%||14.3%|
|2015||20||Nelson Agholor, Phil.||283||1||365||2||29.0%||100.0%|
|2011||26||Jon Baldwin, K.C.||254||1||325||1||28.0%||0.0%|
|2011||4||A.J. Green, Cin.||1057||7||1350||11||27.7%||57.1%|
|2011||6||Julio Jones, Atl.||959||8||1198||10||24.9%||25.0%|
|2014||7||Mike Evans, T.B.||1051||12||1206||3||14.7%||-75.0%|
|2014||12||Odell Beckham Jr., NYG||1305||12||1450||13||11.1%||8.3%|
|2015||4||Amari Cooper, Oak.||1070||6||1153||5||7.8%||-16.7%|
|2014||4||Sammy Watkins, Buff.||982||6||1047||9||6.6%||50.0%|
|2018||26||Calvin Ridley, Atl.||821||10||866||7||5.5%||-30.0%|
|2013||29||Cordarrelle Patterson, Minn.||469||9||384||2||-18.1%||-77.8%|
|2016||15||Corey Coleman, Clev.||413||3||305||2||-26.2%||-33.3%|
|2016||21||Will Fuller, Hou.||635||3||423||7||-33.4%||133.3%|
|2013||8||Tavon Austin, St.L.||418||6||242||3||-42.1%||-50.0%|
|2012||5||Justin Blackmon, Jac.||865||5||415||1||-52.0%||-80.0%|
|2014||28||Kelvin Benjamin, Car.||1008||9||0||0||-100.0%||-100.0%|
|2020||15||Jerry Jeudy, Den.||856||3||?||?||?||?|
|2020||12||Henry Ruggs, L.V.||452||2||?||?||?||?|
|2020||17||CeeDee Lamb, Dall.||935||7||?||?||?||?|
|2020||22||Justin Jefferson, Minn.||1400||7||?||?||?||?|
|2020||25||Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.||748||7||?||?||?||?|
|2020||21||Jalen Reagor, Phil.||396||2||?||?||?||?|
Just being better in year 2 doesn't make a player a star, as proven by Phillip Dorsett and Jon Baldwin. But being worse looks bad: jury is still out on Will Fuller, but the rest of those guys (maybe someone can make a case for Cordarrelle Patterson) have been disappointments.
Jeudy will need to stay healthy and clean up the drops, but seems like a pretty good chance of him putting up better numbers in 2021.