Polarizing wide receiver has new start in a new city, but he wasn't that bad

The Denver Broncos used a premium pick on Jerry Jeudy in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft but that doesn't mean they got premium production.
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Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

With the wide receiver room shakeup in the 2023 offseason so far for the Denver Broncos, the big move was trading Jerry Jeudy to the Cleveland Browns, which left some fans relieved, but it's time to see if Jeudy was really as bad as everyone thought.

Let's start by saying this: I for one am in the camp that is okay with Jeudy being traded to Cleveland for picks so he can get a fresh start, Denver can get some more draft firepower and Marvin Mims Jr. can get an expanded role. With that being said I don't think Jeudy was as bad as people think but he sure didn't live up to the 15th overall selection in 2020 that was used on him.

To put this into perspective, according to Pro Football Reference six wide receivers were taken in the first round alone and only one before Jeudy with Henry Ruggs III at 12. Those taken after Jeudy in the first round? Hold on to your hats. CeeDee Lamb at 17, Jalen Reagor at 21, Justin Jefferson at 22 and Brandon Aiyuk at 25. Now, outside of Ruggs for obvious reasons, Reagor is the only one that has had a worse start to their career than Jeudy.

In an order of greatness, it's very clear, 1: Jefferson 2: Lamb 3: Aiyuk 4: Jeudy. 5: Reagor 6: Ruggs. Lamb and Jefferson are so far ahead it's not even funny and Aiyuk has nearly 1,000 more yards and double the touchdowns. Although, how much of Jeudy's lack of production can be tied to the revolving door at quarterback?

Also, the first two receivers taken in the second round were Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr. who both have a 1,000-yard season under their belt, Jeudy does not. To give Jeudy a truly fair shake we need to at least dive into a few stats to see if they make the case for some of the ire he drew from fans and certain media personalities.

According to Pro Football Focus in 2023 Jeudy graded out as the 62nd best wide receiver in the NFL. Now that is out of 128 who received a grade so when you see that, that's not that bad. When you rank him against other wide receivers drafted in 2020? He is basically right in the middle; the obvious receivers are above him including Aiyuk, Lamb, Jefferson, Pittman Jr., Jauan Jennings, Higgins and Gabe Davis. Historically, Jeudy finished 85th out of 127 in his rookie season, 56th out of 115 in 2021 but he did have a great season in 2022 grading out 20th out of 113 he most certainly wasn't living up to the production of a 15th overall pick.

To me, Jeudy was a kid who came in and everyone had high expectations of him, especially since he was a first-round pick. Couple that with the fact that other receivers in his draft class far surpassed him and that gives you a recipe for disappointment.

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While I don't think Jeudy was truly awful in his time in Denver, see his stat line from Chargers vs. Broncos in January of 23', 5 receptions for 154 yards and 3 carries for 39 yards. He was clearly a player that didn't live up to his draft pedigree or expectations in the Orange and Blue but he most certainly wasn't awful.