Denver Broncos rookie spotlight: Top pick Jerry Jeudy

Denver Broncos 2020 rookie spotlight on top pick Jerry Jeudy.

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ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01: Jerry Jeudy #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs in the fourth quarter during the 2018 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Denver Broncos 2020 first-round pick Jerry Jeudy is one of the most decorated prospects to ever come to the Broncos' organization.

Although much has already been made about Jeudy's route running and playmaking ability, as well as the fact that he's the first Alabama player to ever be selected by John Elway, there's no shortage of intrigue when looking deeper into this young star's story.

The Broncos are obviously expecting a huge year one impact from Jeudy as the WR2 to Pro Bowl receiver Courtland Sutton, a former second-round pick out of SMU whose weaknesses coming out of college are seemingly strengths of Jeudy's.

Although the Broncos have added plenty of talent through the years including two top-five picks in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, Jeudy is a decorated prospect unlike any other the Broncos have seen come through the doors of the UC Health Traning Facility.

Let's take a deeper look at Jeudy's story and what he brings to the Denver Broncos, both on and off the field.

Jerry Jeudy as a prep star

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AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 25: Jerry Jeudy #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with teammates after catching a touchdown pass during the second quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

A standout of Deerfield Beach High School in Florida, Jerry Jeudy chose Alabama over just about every other school in the country and had his pick of elite programs.

A five-star prospect by Rivals and 247, Jeudy was ranked the third-overall receiver in the 2017 class behind Jeudy's 2020 NFL Draft classmates Donovan Peoples-Jones (no. 1) and Tee Higgins (no. 2).

Recruiting is an inexact science.

Jeudy was ranked as the fifth overall prospect in the state of Florida that year and the 21st overall player nationally by 247 Sports. Among the four players rated ahead of him in the state of Florida that year were fellow Alabama commits Alex Leatherwood (OL) and Dylan Moses (LB) and Ohio State star cornerback Shaun Wade.

Jeudy has been breaking ankles since his high school days:

Even though Alabama signed four of the top 12 receivers in the 2017 class, Jeudy managed to stand out as their lead receiver in each of the past two seasons.

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Jeudy's career at Alabama

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SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Jerry Jeudy #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates his first quarter touchdown reception against the Clemson Tigers the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Three years of college football go by really fast for these young athletes who are basically fast-tracked to NFL stardom.

That doesn't mean players don't have to put in the work and stand out among the crowd.

Some might think it's easier for star prep athletes to succeed when they get into a program like Alabama, and there is certainly some truth to that. With that said, when you go to an elite program like Alabama's, you not only have the best tools at your disposal but you also have to beat out a lot of other five-star guys.

Jeudy spent one season learning after enrolling in school early, catching just 14 passes in 2017, but he exploded in year two.

Jeudy was a first-team All-American in 2018 and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver when he led Alabama with 68 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns.

In 2019, he continued to dominate even with Alabama having so many mouths to feed in the passing game, leading the team with 77 receptions, 10 of which went for touchdowns.

Jeudy's overall game continued to improve and evolve over the course of his time with the Crimson Tide, and he earned a reputation as the best route runner in college football.

In three seasons at Alabama, Jeudy was a two-time All-American, two-time All-SEC selection, and Biletnikoff Award winner who managed to stand out as a star among stars on a team full of them.

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On to Denver

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SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 07: Jerry Jeudy #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates his 62 yard touchdown reception thrown by Tua Tagovailoa #13 against the Clemson Tigers during the first quarter in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium on January 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Nobody thought Jerry Jeudy was going to be sitting there when the Broncos were on the clock with the 15th overall pick.

In the early portion of the 2020 NFL Draft evaluation process, Jeudy was consistently going in the top 5-10 picks, often to the New York Jets or New York Giants as one of the first non-quarterbacks off the board.

When the Broncos were predicted to land in the top five of the 2020 NFL Draft, there were some who felt like Jeudy would be a no-brainer in that spot.

Jeudy has spent the majority of his football career playing in the south, but will now move to the Mile High City where he recently visited for the first time.

Jeudy has spent the majority of his football career playing in the south, but will now move to the Mile High City where he recently visited for the first time.

As the first Alabama player ever selected by John Elway in his tenure as general manager, Jeudy is a significant piece of Broncos history already.

As tremendous as the Alabama program has been in terms of being an NFL talent factory under Nick Saban, it's shocking that from 2011-19, the Broncos did not use a single draft selection on any player from the Crimson Tide, much less a first-round pick.

Jeudy comes to Denver as pro-ready as any prospect has come. The Alabama program not only develops these players physically for the NFL, but mentally and in terms of their work habits.

The Alabama program is basically run like an NFL program and is full of former NFL coaches.

It will be fascinating to see how an Alabama player acclimates to Denver in that regard, and it will be great to see Jeudy lining up with Courtland Sutton, KJ Hamler, Noah Fant, and the rest of the Broncos' talented offensive skill players.

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Jeudy's presence will be huge for Drew Lock

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SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Jerry Jeudy #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after making a first down reception against the Clemson Tigers in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Two years ago, when Drew Lock was playing in his final year at Missouri, his top three receivers were wide receivers Emanuel Hall (37 receptions) and Johnathon Johnson (59 receptions) and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (43 receptions).

In four seasons at Missouri, not a single one of Lock's teammates at the offensive skill positions was drafted before the fourth round. He's now had two teammates selected in the fourth round in wide receiver J'Mon Moore, who is already on his second NFL team, and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who was just picked this year by the Broncos.

Lock has never had elite talent to get the ball to at the wide receiver position, and Jerry Jeudy is as good as it gets.

He combines speed with route running and foot quickness as well as elusiveness after the catch. Lock is going to have a much easier time making strides in his second NFL season with a guy who can do this:

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This young player is nothing short of star quality for the Denver Broncos and his career is going to be fascinating to watch as a guy who prides himself on hard work, paying attention to the smaller details, and winning every single rep.