Fantasy Football 2020 NFL Draft Profile: Where Jerry Jeudy sits among the elite receivers of the class
Can Jerry Jeudy continue dominating in the NFL like he did in high school and college? Our lowdown should have Fantasy managers intrigued.
Since his days as a high school phenom, there's been little doubt as to what Jerry Jeudy's future would be. A five-star recruit and the third highest-rated receiver in the country by 247Sports' composite rankings, Jeudy's been viewed as an elusive receiver with breathtaking feet since he declared for Alabama … and he's done nothing but cement his status as one of the best pass catchers in the country since. He finished his collegiate career with 2,742 yards, the fourth-most of any receiver who played at Alabama (39 yards behind Calvin Ridley, almost 100 yards more than Julio Jones). He also had 26 touchdowns (second-most in Alabama history) and 159 receptions (fifth-most). He won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation's best receiver as a 19-year-old sophomore in 2018 and was a consensus first-team All-SEC receiver in 2018 and 2019.
Numbers to Know
Weight: 193 pounds
Hand: 9 1/2 inches | Arms: 32 1/8 inches | Wingspan: 76 inches
2019: 13 games, 77 receptions, 1,163 yards, 15.1 yards per catch, 10 touchdowns
In four games against top-25 teams, Jeudy caught 20 balls for 351 yards and two scores. Six catches, 204 yards and a touchdown came against Michigan in the 2020 Citrus Bowl.
2018: 15 games, 68 receptions, 1,315 yards, 19.3 yards per catch, 14 touchdowns
In six games against top-25 teams, Jeudy caught 32 passes for 462 yards and three scores. That includes a 12-236-3 line in his final three games against Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson, all top-five teams. He won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation's top wide receiver.
Known Injury History
- Meniscus surgery, March 2018
Jeudy has the desirable combination of fleet feet and a fluid body to make defenders nervous and offensive playcallers swoon. Able to line up all over the formation, Jeudy has excellent explosiveness, balance, loose hips and lateral agility to absolutely ghost defensive backs at the line of scrimmage. Paired with his instant acceleration, Jeudy gets open quickly. But he can also mix it up with starting and stopping his feet and hesitations in his steps to change speeds and freeze defenders. Once he has a beat on them, he's dangerous as he has very good speed and runs violently with good change-of-direction skills. It's those traits that contribute to him being a very good route runner, something he's been since high school. Jeudy can run any route in the playbook with ease and is unafraid to cross the field.
Jeudy often exhibits hands that snare on- and off-target passes. He doesn't body-catch too often and does a great job adjusting to off-target throws. He's also proven to be a good, willing blocker in the run game, which will help him stay on the field on Sundays.
Though the prototypical body for a No. 1 receiver has changed, Jeudy still looks like he's on the thin side to be a dominant physical threat. The power he played with in college may not be good enough to give him as big of an advantage in the NFL. And on top of that, he was rarely pressed at the line of scrimmage at Alabama, which is something he'll see more of moving forward. Same thing with contested catches — he didn't have a lot of those (maybe because he got open so easily). Can he continue to dominate physically like he did in college?
Ten drops in two seasons (five in each) is never great. Some came when he wasn't concentrating on the catch and was instead moving upfield too soon, some came on would-be touchdown plays that hit him in the hands. You can see some of them here. It's hard to hold it against him when he had 213 targets in 2018-19 but it's still worth mentioning. Might these drops be the difference between him being one of the best receivers in the class and THE best receiver in the class?
Ryan Wilson's Take
Jeudy's the best route runner in this class, and he's also the best in small areas, capable of making even good tacklers look foolish. According to Sports Info Solutions, Jeudy broke 11 percent of tackles, 20 percent of his total receiving yards came after contact, and 52 percent of his total yards came after the catch. He did have five drops (on 86 catchable targets) and he sometimes loses focus on targets over the middle. That said, he's my WR1, just ahead of CeeDee Lamb, because Jeudy faced some of the best defensive backs in the country on a weekly basis.
The name that comes to mind while watching Jeudy is Calvin Ridley, his old teammate at Alabama and fellow native South Floridian. Both are 6-foot-1, both have great acceleration and route-running skills. Maybe Jeudy is a smidge more polished and blessed with better footwork than Ridley had coming out of school, but it's close. Ridley has delivered back-to-back 800-yard seasons with at least seven scores in each while catching throws from Matt Ryan. Jeudy has this kind of potential right away provided he lands in just as good of a situation.
Favorite Fantasy Fits
We all want Jeudy to wind up as a No. 1 receiver with a good quarterback in a pass-first offense. That can happen in New York with the Jets, though Fantasy managers would much prefer the Cardinals snag him with a top-10 pick.
Jeudy starting a residency with the Raiders in Las Vegas would also be something. Sure, there's not a ton to love about Derek Carr, but what if the quarterback there was someone else? Jeudy is a dream fit in any offense, and Gruden's high-percentage passing system wouldn't hurt the rookie too bad.
Then there's this pipe dream: The Eagles. Carson Wentz needs receiving help in a major way and Jeudy could be a highly-targeted weapon in that offense. The Eagles do love throwing the ball around and Wentz has the strength to find Jeudy deep. That might actually be the best spot for his Fantasy value in 2020.
Fantasy Bottom Line
Jeudy is an NFL-ready receiver who should impact defenses for most of his rookie year and beyond. It wouldn't be surprising to see him finish as a top-36 receiver in 2020, making him a top-80 pick on Draft Day in seasonal formats (maybe closer to 70th overall in full PPR). He'll go sooner (Round 6-ish) in dynasty/keeper drafts since his value shines brighter long-term, and he'll be a top-six pick in rookie-only drafts.
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