Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy: Drops held me back during 2020 rookie season

When the Denver Broncos swiped Jerry Jeudy with the No. 15 overall pick in 2020, many projected they landed the top receiver in a historically rich draft.

The Alabama product entered the NFL as a stellar route runner with ideal size and athleticism. The outsized predictions didn't come to fruition, but Jeudy still generated 856 yards on 52 catches with three TDs.

The numbers aren't bad for a rookie wideout. When compared to the rest of a historic class, however, the Broncos wideout didn't finish at the top. He landed fifth in yards, behind Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins and Chase Claypool. While Jeudy saw 110 targets, second-most in his class, his 47.3 catch percentage put him dead last among the 14 rookies with at least 40 targets, per Pro Football Focus.

Drops were particularly a problem for Jeudy, who finished with the second-most recorded drops by a WR in 2020 with 12, per PFF, behind only Diontae Johnson (14) of Pittsburgh.

"What I took away is that you just have to take advantage of your opportunities," Jeudy told The Athletic. "For me, I feel like the drops took away from a lot of my opportunities. If I had never had 10 or 11 drops, I probably would have had the season I was looking forward to having. Basically, having those drops took away from the season I wanted it to be. It's just taking advantage of the opportunities to catch the ball, look the ball in. That's the biggest thing for me."

Jeudy's worst day came in Week 16 when he was charted with five drops, per PFF, including a deep shot that could have gone for a late TD in the 19-16 loss.

On the plus side, the young receiver ended the season on a high note, thrashing the Las Vegas Raiders for a season-high 140 yards on five catches with a TD.

"Just have a redemption game from the game before," Jeudy told himself. "That was the biggest thing, ending the season on a good note."

With Courtland Sutton returning and Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Noah Fant having another year of seasoning, the Broncos' offense could be dangerous in 2021.

"It can be a very explosive, dynamic offense," Jeudy said. "We have all the right players in the right positions. Once we all come together, I feel like we're going to be very explosive, very dynamic and very unstoppable."

In order for the Broncos to have that explosive offense, the quarterback play must improve -- either from Drew Lock or whoever is imported. And Jeudy knows he must negate the negative plays that plagued his up-and-down rookie season.

"Just be ready for the next opportunity," he said.

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