Jerry Jeudy, WR Denver Broncos
Jerry Jeudy was in the discussion for most people as the WR1 in the 2020 class. The argument was primarily between him and CeeDee Lamb. Jeudy was touted as the best route runner in the class and some people basically deemed Jeudy as a generational prospect. I remember Matt Miller of Bleacher Report comparing him to Odell Beckham Jr! Now that his rookie season is over, did he live up to the hype? I'm going to dive into some of my concerns for him and his situation and why I think that Jeudy is going to be a sell or a hold for me.
Courtland Sutton Returning
Courtland Sutton was unfortunately injured in the first game of the season when he tore his ACL. He was coming into his 3rd NFL season with high expectations before the injury. I fully believe that when he is healthy, he will be the alpha of the offense. He is the RedZone threat. According to pro-football-reference.com, in 2019, Sutton was 8th in the NFL in RedZone team target share (27.9%) and 7th in the NFL in team target share inside the 10 (31%). Jeudy isn’t going to take much away from that. If anybody does, it’ll be Noah Fant. Both Noah Fant and Tim Patrick had a much higher % of team targets inside the 20 and 10 this season.
Jerry Jeudy: 8.8% of team targets in RedZone / 7.1% of team targets inside the 10
Noah Fant: 17.5% of team targets in RedZone / 14.3% of team targets inside the 10
Tim Patrick: 17.5% of team targets in RedZone / 28.6% of team targets inside the 10
With Jeudy's performance this year, I don't see much changing in 2021. He did not have a single reception inside the RedZone. He did nothing to prove he deserves more looks, so once Sutton is good to go, he will be the RedZone threat and primary receiver in the offense. I will go more into detail about Sutton in a future article.
Jeudy Lacks Ball Skills
One of my favorite qualities of a wide receiver is ball skills. I love receivers who can go up and get it and win 50/50 balls. Jeudy doesn't seem to have much ability in this area. He just seems to have bad hands at the point of the catch.
Jeudy has a real issue with drops. According to PFF, he has a drop rate of 18.8%. That would be the 3rd highest in the NFL of wide receivers with at least 32 targets. That is higher than Diontae Johnson. One of the receivers who has a higher drop rate is actually a teammate of Jeudy. K.J. Hamler has a drop rate of 18.9%. That tells me we can't put all the blame on Drew Lock.
We are going to dive into some highlights of Jeudy and his catching woes. First, lets take a look at a few plays in traffic. Jeudy has made some nice plays, but overall I personally feel like he does not want to get physical or get hit. According to PlayerProfiler.com, Jeudy had 29 targets that would be considered contested and caught 27.6% of them (94th).
I get that some of those receptions are more difficult than others. The issue is that he drops wide open passes with nobody around too. Everybody blames Drew Lock, but it's not all his fault. These are receptions that Jeudy has to make. If you take away Jeudy's uncatchable targets, he has a true catch rate of just 73.2% (103rd). Check out a few more drops here.
Jeudy really needs to work on his hands this offseason. I keep hearing that these things are fixable from Jeudy truthers, so I really hope that is the case. I'm going to leave one more video of Jeudy's hands. Below you'll see a clip where Jeudy did technically make the catch, but it wasn't pretty. Video credit goes to @JetPackGalileo on twitter.
There are many efficiency stats that we can dive into. We will look at yards per target (YPT), yards per route run (YRR) and DVOA (defense adjusted value over average). These are all indicators of efficiency for what a player is doing on the field.
Jeudy has a 7.58 YPT. Honestly, that is pretty good. You would like to see it above 8, as historically that seems to be where the better receivers in the NFL are consistently at, but he just missed that mark. Jeudy has a 1.66 YRR. Some of the elite receivers are closer to around 2, so this isn't so bad either. For reference, below are some other 2020 rookie class YPT and YRR numbers, according to PFF:
Justin Jefferson - 11.57 YPT / 2.66 YRR
CeeDee Lamb - 8.58 YPT / 1.81 YRR
Tee Higgins - 8.65 YPT / 1.83 YRR
Brandon Aiyuk - 8.04 YPT / 1.73 YRR
Chase Claypool - 8.48 YPT / 2.00 YRR
Now let's dive into DVOA. According to footballoutsiders.com, Jeudy has a DVOA of -23.00% which is 84th out of 87 receivers with at least 50 targets. If you need to understand what DVOA is on a better level, I would highly recommend visiting https://www.footballoutsiders.com/info/glossary.
Jeudy has always excelled at route running. That is the main reason so many analysts were enamored by him as a prospect. I am not going to sit here and deny that his route running isn't elite, but as far as separation, he is only at 1.64 yards in separation from the DB when the target arrives (53rd). This is where I feel that route running as a trait can be somewhat overrated. Is it important? Yes! My argument is that there are plenty of receivers who do just fine without being known for route running. So if route running is basically all you are really good for, then I think it's a little overrated. Sometimes I think he dances around too much. Here is a clip of Lock wanting to hit Jeudy, but he couldn't because he was taking too many steps while trying to juke out the defender.
Jeudy does show explosiveness after the catch. Here's a play where he found a soft spot and Lock was able to fire one in for Jeudy to take to the house. Hopefully he will be able to make more consistent explosive plays next season.
Buy, Sell or Hold?
Jeudy did have a good rookie season. He finished with a stat line of 113 targets, 52 receptions, 856 yards and 3 touchdowns. With that said, Jeudy is a sell if you can get value back for him. In my opinion, I would rather take a shot at least 7 2021 WR prospects (Ja'Marr Chase, Rashod Bateman, Terrace Marshall, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Devonta Smith, Rondale Moore and Jaylen Waddle). I think all 7 of these guys are better overall receivers than Jeudy and will probably offer more upside, depending on landing spots. That doesn't even include the running backs (and quarterbacks if it's a SF league) that I would also take over him. That would likely be a late first or early 2nd for Jeudy. I would pull the trigger if I could get one of my guys in the upcoming rookie draft for Jeudy.
There are still people who would pay a first for Jeudy, so I would be open to it if you are on the fence. You might be able to snag good value for him, maybe even a late 1st or early 2nd + another piece. If you can't get good value, then he's a hold for me. He's still a good receiver who has a bright future, so don't get rid of him just to get rid of him. I just think he is more of a career WR 3 type with WR2 upside, so I would rather take my shot at alpha WR's in the draft.