Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy was severely misused in 2021

It is no surprise to Broncos fans that this year’s offense was a disappointment. However, what makes it even worse is the injustice done to second-year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Heading into the 2021 season, the expectation was for Jerry Jeudy to progress in the offense with newly-crowned quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

In fact, I even spoke about how much of a role Jeudy was expected to play before the season began. It was clear the Broncos liked him, and there was more to be seen.

Clearly, this wasn’t the case.

After his injury in Week 1 of the regular season, Jerry Jeudy seemingly lost his character in the starting offense. In other words, his production and standout image took a large reduction.

Jeudy finished the 2021 season with 38 catches for only 467 yards, while only being targeted 13 percent of the time.

The biggest caveat: Jeudy did not score a single touchdown in 10 games.

While red zone receiving may not be Jeudy’s strong suit, it still shows that neither the coaching nor quarterbacks had a dying desire to throw to Jeudy in the red zone. It’s important to note that Jeudy did score three touchdowns in 2020, with the most prominent one being against the New York Jets.

It’s unusual to see Jeudy have this big of a regression in year two, especially considering how much progress he made in 2020. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur seemed to really like Jeudy’s aspect in the offense, but in 2021, it seemed to disappear.

There’s one component to Jeudy’s game that’s missing here

One of, if not the best, components about Jerry Jeudy’s game is his ability to stretch the field. Many draft scouts and analysts made it a point to compliment Jeudy on his route-running abilities. This goes for his launch after the snap and his work down the field.

Jeudy is one of those players that can easily find separation with coverage. His speed and footwork allow him to have the upper edge and find the desired gaps.

Furthermore, Jeudy’s speed gives him the ability to gain huge chunks of yardage after the catch. in 2021 alone, Jerry Jeudy averaged a little more than 12 yards per grab. The majority of this either came from designed plays down the field, or in his case, space he created to work downtown.

To tie this in, it seemed like Jeudy was nonexistent in the flat for the entire duration of the season. It’s one thing that he missed six games, but the other 10 starts were question marks.

It seemed like both Bridgewater and Drew Lock preferred to go to Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and the tight end duo over Jeudy. This especially comes as a bigger surprise considering both of their styles of play.

Bridgewater is someone who likes his check-downs and ability to throw down the middle of the field, where Lock can use his arm to pair with his receivers’ speed.

Both of these strong suits are tailored for Jeudy, yet neither of them used him to their advantage.

After spending their first-round selection on him in 2020, it’s certainly questionable for the Broncos to leave Jeudy this excluded from the pie. Yes, there are plenty of other targets, but this is your first-round pick.

Let it be said again: Your first-round pick.

With a new coaching staff set to take over next season, look for Jeudy to potentially have a chance to bounce back and prove his worth to the offense once again.