The debate pertaining to who is the best wide receiver in this year’s draft class has boiled down to Jerry Jeudy vs. Ceedee Lamb. While many scouts will point out that Lamb has hauled in many spectacular catches over his career, it’s hard to go against Jerry Jeudy’s skill set. Throughout his career, Jeudy was so amazing that he was projected to be drafted first overall heading into the 2019-2020 season. While Jeudy’s draft stock has fallen a bit, that has less to do with his productivity, and more to do with the current needs of teams picking in the top five. As I delve more into the all-around game of Jeudy, it will be easy for readers to understand why Jeudy is the safest wideout in the draft.
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As soon as Jeudy’s highlight reel begins, fans are able to witness his top-end speed. At 00:12, Jeudy completely burns his defender, and continues to accelerate after the catch. Even after adjusting his body, Jeudy is able to increase separation from the Ole Miss defender on his way to six points. Throughout the entirety of the video, there are many instances of Jeudy burning his defender before the catch. His insane speed will make life difficult for slower cornerbacks, such as Richard Sherman, who will most likely need help over the top against Jeudy.
Also, early on, fans are able to see Jeudy’s run after the catch ability. Despite being in a bad position to beat his defender at 00:20, Jeudy is shifty enough to mess up the cornerbacks tackling angle. Plus, Jeudy’s ability to start and stop instantaneously stunned the corner enough for him to maximize his catch. Another important aspect of this highlight reel is that Jeudy consistently hauls in contested catches. Regardless of whether he has to make a sideline catch in the end zone at 1:40 or beat tight coverage at 1:35, Jeudy flashed an underrated ability to make spectacular catches.
Underrated contested catch ability
Jeudy runs a complete route tree with agility that is mind boggling for both fans and cornerbacks. His footwork is so insane that he is able to stop on a dime to stun a defender, break their ankles, and gain significant separation. Once he gains separation from defenders, Jeudy quickly accelerates and becomes unstoppable. As a result, Jeudy is terrific in vertical offenses where he can run post, fly and corner routes.
While Jeudy occasionally drops easy passes, he has the concentration and strong hands necessary to haul in contested-catches. Due to his height, he is usually able to box out shorter defensive backs in jump ball situations. During his Sophomore season, Jeudy was able to fend off blanketed coverage and orient himself to complete the catch. This is true for Jeudy whether he is playing on the outside or in the slot, because he excels in both situations.
Moreover, Jeudy has impeccable awareness. On third down situations, he is cognizant of how many yards he needs to get for a first down. As scouts and analysts have pointed out, Jeudy’s awareness and football IQ spans multiple schemes, such as vertical spread to even west coast offense. This is arguably one of his best attributes because it indicates that Jeudy will be able to transition smoothly to the NFL regardless of the scheme.
Occasional concentration drops
As mentioned earlier, Jeudy’s biggest problem is that he occasionally drops easy catches. More specifically, Jeudy struggles to haul in catches when he has to concentrate more to locate the ball. This probably won’t lead to Nelson Agholor level drops, but fans could become easily frustrated with Jeudy’s drops.
Additionally, Jerry Jeudy encounters issues attempting to shed press coverage. Due to his smaller frame, Jeudy often gets pushed off his route. Even though Jeudy usually readjusts to get back in position on fly routes, this issue exacerbates when he is attempting quick routes like slants. His lack of strength is also problematic when Jeudy is blocking because he is unable to push DBs back to open huge running lanes.
As a route runner, Jeudy is eerily similar to Odell Beckham Jr. When both Jeudy and Beckham line up wide, they exhibit enough agility to shake defensive backs on double moves. Moreover, they each display fluid motion throughout routes, which allows them each to juke out defenders to gain significant separation. This quickness makes Jeudy one of the most elusive and explosive receivers in college football. Similar to Beckham Jeudy has the ability to haul in contested catches, even though he rarely has to complete catches in traffic. The last similarity between, Beckham and Jeudy is that they each are huge threats after the catch, who can win matchups in both the slot and on the outside.
With Robby Anderson likely leaving New York in free agency, Jerry Jeudy would be a great fit for the Jets. Without Anderson, the Jets will completely lack a deep threat wide receiver with the capability to make big plays. Moreover, Jerry Jeudy would be extremely appreciated by Sam Darnold, who would finally get a true number one wideout. In fact, Jeudy’s ability to win one on one matchups will constantly give Darnold a reliable WR. Adam Gase would also love Jeudy, and utilize him on the outside with fly, comeback, and corner routes, and on the inside with slants and drags.
Speaking of schemes Dolphins offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, would welcome the addition of Jeudy into his vertical spread offense. Jeudy would automatically mesh well in Gailey’s scheme due to his top end speed, and ability to gain separation on deep routes. Due to the fact that the Dolphins also lack a consistent number one wideout, Jeudy would have a great opportunity to start on day one. This would be especially true if the Dolphins somehow find a way to pair Jeudy with his college QB, Tua Tagovailoa, due to their great rapport.
Even though Jeudy is projected to be productive regardless of where he is drafted, the 49ers would probably be his worst destination. Their heavy emphasis rushing the football would reduce the likelihood of Jeudy hauling in significant receiving yardage. Also, Jeudy lacks elite blocking skills, which doesn’t bold well for a team, like the Niners, who rush the ball over 50% of the time. Additionally, the 49ers currently have depth at wide receiver, so it is not in their best interest to invest in Jeudy.
Speed: 8.5 Jeudy possesses elite speed that makes him a huge threat in spread offenses. As a result, Jeudy is a complete mismatch against slower defensive backs in both the slot and on the outside.
Route running: 9.5 Jeudy has the best route running skills of any wide receiver in this draft class. Jeudy’s fluid motion enables him to gain significant separation from defensive backs after performing swift cuts on routes like comebacks, slants, and posts. He can run a complete route tree better than most elite NFL WRs.
Hands: 7.5 Jeudy is one of the most underrated contested catch receivers in college. Despite rarely having to perform catches in traffic, Jeudy has good jump ball skills, and a decent catch radius. However, his occasional drops can be quite puzzling.
Agility: 9 Jeudy’s agility makes him a huge threat before and after the catch. His ability to change directions on the stop of a dime consistently stuns defenders, allowing him to juke out defenders. Players his height shouldn’t be as agile as Jeudy is.
Size: 6 He has decent height which makes him a mismatch vs. short defensive backs. However, his wiry frame prevents him from being an effective blocker and hinders his success against press coverage.