Kiz: The most perplexing player on the Broncos? For me, it’s receiver Jerry Jeudy. He has skills, no doubt. But his first two seasons in the NFL have been defined by disappointing production and excuses for his unfulfilled potential. Here’s the list: Bad quarterback. Bad play-calling. Bad ankle. Hey, they are all legit excuses. But with Russell Wilson as his new quarterback, is this the year Jeudy becomes a legit No. 1 NFL receiver?
O’Halloran: If not with Wilson, whose Seattle tenure included helping turn young receivers Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf (among others) into standout pass catchers, then with whom? When Wilson was acquired in March, I figured the two big beneficiaries were Jeudy and receiver KJ Hamler. I agree that circumstances have contributed to Jeudy’s lack of eye-popping production, but even with Wilson, I don’t see him as a No. 1 receiver on this team. Through two years, Jeudy ranks ninth among 2020 drafted receivers in catches (90), eighth in yards (1,323) … and, gulp, tied for 18th in touchdown catches (three).
Kiz: Three touchdown catches in two NFL seasons? Would have bet the over on that. Big time. So pardon my disappointment in Jeudy. By no means do I think he’s a draft bust. But I don’t think you can blame his slow development entirely on poor coaching. Nathaniel Hackett and his staff have a reputation for being great teachers. What does Jeudy need to learn and how can these coaches help him most?
O’Halloran: According to my game charting, Jeudy has 11 drops in 20 career games, but five came in one game (late 2020 at the Chargers) and he had only one last year. He has the hands. But what I would like to do is get in the lab with receivers coach Zach Azzanni to see what focus points he has delivered to Jeudy. Out of Alabama, he was renowned as an elite route runner. Has that played out? Has he learned how to set up defenders on double-move patterns? Is he maximizing his yards post-catch? This is where Wilson comes in. I see No. 3 making sure No. 10 is a primary part of the game plan in general and early in games in particular.
Kiz: Here are two statistical morsels for you to chew on. In 2021, there were 26 NFL receivers who caught passes for at least 1,000 yards. And last season, there were 25 NFL receivers who caught at least six touchdown passes. Is a 1,000-yard, six-TD season too much to ask for Jeudy in Year 3? Or should I pump the brakes and accept the idea that the role that best suits Jeudy is as a complementary passing target in this Denver offense to Courtland Sutton?
O’Halloran: Last October, general manager George Paton signed Sutton and receiver Tim Patrick to contract extensions. In 2023, the cap hits are $18.325 million (Sutton), $11.371 million (Patrick) and $4.834 million (Jeudy). In 2024, Sutton is at $17.325 million and Patrick $12.971 million. I think Paton wanted insurance in case Jeudy didn’t develop into a No. 1 so he extended Jeudy and Patrick. Six touchdowns this year for Jeudy should be the minimum expectation and 1,000 yards should be realistic. Fans shouldn’t pump the brakes on their expectations for Jeudy. It’s time for him to produce.