What do we make of Jerry Jeudy? He had a suspect rookie season, but the Broncos liked him enough a year ago to select him in the middle of the first round – before CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson. Can he emerge as Denver’s leading receiver? And are we even certain he’ll be one of their top 2 guys?
Courtland Sutton looked very good in 2019 but missed almost all of last year; he’s back. Veteran Tim Patrick was their steadiest wide receiver last year. And they also drafted a wide receiver in the second round in 2020 (KJ Hamler).
Complicating matters is Noah Fant. He’s got more pass-catching ability than most tight ends. There’s some chance he’ll catch more passes than all of the team’s wide receivers.
Jeudy was underwhelming as a rookie, catching only 52 of the 113 passes thrown his way. He dropped 10 passes, including a remarkable 6 in a late-season game against the Chargers. (I’m not sure that any other player has ever dropped 6 passes in an NFL game.)
But are we kicking Jeudy to the curb because of one bad day? Drops otherwise weren’t an issue for him last year. And while he caught only 46 percent of the passes thrown his way, at least he was running primarily downfield routes. He averaged 16.5 yards per catch. There’s a huge difference between catching about half of the balls thrown your way when you’re a deep threat rather than a slot-type guy catching underneath passes.
I played around with the numbers some on this one. Of the last 15 wide receivers chosen in the first round who caught fewer than half of the passes thrown their way (among those with at least 50 targets) a third rebounded to have some good seasons. I’ve got those guys tagged with black dots.
I’m not sky-high on Jeudy, but I think it makes sense to slot him as Denver’s second wide receiver, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he outperforms both Sutton and Patrick.
|STRUGGLING ROOKIE WIDE RECEIVERS|
|1999||• David Boston, Ariz.||81||40||473||11.8||2|
|2000||• Plaxico Burress, Pitt.||65||22||273||12.4||0|
|2000||Peter Warrick, Cin.||126||51||592||11.6||4|
|2000||Sylvester Morris, K.C.||105||48||678||14.1||3|
|2001||Rod Gardner, Was.||101||46||741||16.1||4|
|2002||• Javon Walker, G.B.||50||23||319||13.9||1|
|2003||Bryant Johnson, Ariz.||77||35||438||12.5||1|
|2003||Charles Rogers, Det.||52||22||243||11.1||3|
|2004||• Roy Williams, Det.||118||54||817||15.1||8|
|2005||Troy Williamson, Min.||52||24||372||15.5||2|
|2005||• Roddy White, Atl.||69||29||446||15.4||3|
|2007||Ted Ginn, Mia.||71||34||420||12.4||2|
|2011||Jonathan Baldwin, K.C.||52||21||254||12.1||1|
|2012||Justin Blackmon, Jac.||132||64||865||13.5||5|
|2016||Corey Coleman, Cle.||73||33||413||12.5||3|
|2020||Jerry Jeudy, Den.||113||52||856||16.5||3|