Jerry Jeudy is setup for a career year in 2023
By Kyle Collis
Jerry Jeudy was regarded as one of the top receivers in the 2020 NFL draft. Three seasons later, Jeudy hasn’t quite lived up to those expectations for the Denver Broncos yet. Although, it is hard to be the best receiver in a class that was home to Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, and Tee Higgins. However, the potential for Jeudy to be great is still very much alive.
The situation that the fourth-year wideout has found himself in over the last three seasons has not been favourable to him, and it begins with the head coach position. As the NFL began to transition to young, offensive-minded coaches, the Broncos appeared to do the opposite. They hired Vic Fangio, who was great for the team's defence but not impactful on offence. Say what you will about Fangio, but the one thing that holds true is that he was a defensive head coach through and through.
After Fangio was let go, the Broncos then made the move to hire an offensive coordinator for their open head coaching position in 2022. This was Nathaniel Hackett, an experiment that failed for multiple reasons, one of which was that he was simply unproven. It was clear he wasn't cut out for the more important role of head coach. Of course, that is a lot easier to say after the fact.
The other factor that was hurting Jeudy came from the quarterback position. Drew Lock played 13 games in 2020 for the Broncos where he threw for 2933 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. Lock ended the 2019 season leaving fans with a lot of hope that he could be the future face of the franchise, but ultimately failed. One year later, Teddy Bridgwater took over and played 14 games at the position for the Broncos. Neither of those two is very highly regarded in the NFL, and they are now both backups for teams not named the Denver Broncos.
Whether or not the quarterback situation is fixed may still be up in the air, as Russell Wilson did not look like himself for most of the season. Something fans can feel more comfortable about being fixed is the head coaching position. Sean Payton is a proven, offensive coach who can lead a team. Payton could easily be the solution to the coaching and quarterback issues, as the hope is that he will "fix" Wilson, killing two birds with one stone.
Jeudy could play a similar role to what Michael Thomas did in the New Orleans Saints offense under Payton. Though Thomas may be more sure-handed, Jeudy has a little more speed, but they are both exceptional route runners. Before his injuries, Thomas was considered one of the league's best receivers in Payton’s system.
Even with Wilson not playing at an optimal level and lackluster coaching all last season, Jeudy was still able to put up a career-high in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. In a new and improved system with a (hopefully) revitalized Wilson, it’s possible we see an explosion and even more career highs set for Jeudy in 2023.