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Why the praise coming from Jerry Jeudy’s teammates is different

Zac Stevens Avatar
August 20, 2020

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Life in the NFL is tough, to say the least, for rookies.

Along with the minor details of moving across the country and learning a far-more complex NFL playbook, rookies have to put in their due to earn the respect, recognition and attention of their teammates.

Not Jerry Jeudy.

After the Broncos’ very first full-squad practice of training camp, Kareem Jackson specifically mentioned Denver’s first-round receiver as a player that stuck out to him.

“I think he did some great things today. He ran some [awesome] routes. He’s that type of player,” the veteran safety said. “I’ve had a chance to watch him since he was a freshman since he went to my alma mater (Alabama). That’s one of the teams I watch every Saturday. Getting a chance to watch him throughout the last couple years and see him grow as a player, to now have him now as a teammate, is exciting.”

That type of talk isn’t the norm that veterans dish out to rookies, especially after their first practice together ever due to the lack of an offseason program.

On Wednesday, Graham Glasgow unintentionally gave a perfect example of how rookies are typically viewed in the eyes of veteran players.

“The young buck’s really good — 95, McTelvin? I think his name is,” Glasgow said, dishing praise on the Broncos’ third-round pick McTelvin Agim, while barely knowing his name.

There’s no guessing what Jerry Jeudy’s name is. He’s an instant household name among everyone on the Broncos’ roster.

But knowing his name is just the very beginning for No. 10.

Four days into camp, veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye was asked which players he enjoys going up against. You guessed it; Jerry Jeudy and fellow rookie receiver K.J. Hamler were his picks.

“Being in the league for a while, I’ve seen a lot of rookie receivers come in and it seems like they don’t have it figured out. You can look at those two and tell—whether it’s in the offseason, coaching that they’ve had outside—they’re real polished in routes, especially Jeudy,” Bouye said, giving even extra love to the first-round pick. “He never gives you the same look every time and I’m loving going against him. He’s going to keep me true to my technique.”

Keep in mind A.J. Bouye is an eight-year NFL veteran with a Pro Bowl under his belt. Jeudy, with his zero total NFL games of experience, is holding Bouye true to his technique because of the rookie’s route-running abilities.

“I think it’ll be very difficult [to cover Jeudy] because he has this unorthodox way of running routes,” Jackson said about Jeudy. “We were kind of talking about it today. He can get in and out of his breaks better than anyone I’ve ever seen before.”

Excuse me, what?

Jackson, a 10-year NFL veteran, has gone up against the best receivers in the business, yet rookie Jerry Jeudy is the best he’s ever seen getting in and out of his breaks — a crucial component in route running, and thus in getting open.

In fact, Jackson faced Julio Jones every day in practice for two years at the University of Alabama and DeAndre Hopkins every day in practice for six years in Houston. Both are on a Hall-of-Fame path and yet the rookie Jerry Jeudy is the best Jackson’s ever seen at getting in and out of his breaks.

When Drew Lock was asked if he agreed with Jackson’s flashy claim, the second-year quarterback smiled ear-to-ear and simply said, “We’ll say Jerry is pretty good. We’ll put it that way.” Lock added he didn’t want to put those types of expectations on the rookie.

“Jerry has been great,” Lock simply said. “I think the best thing that I’ve seen out of Jerry is how hard he comes out and works every day and just how on top of it he is — no questions asked.”

Former All-Pro receiver Chad Johnson is a person many people point to as one of the best route runners the game has ever seen. Well, even Chad, formerly Ochocinco, Johnson has been pounding the table for Jeudy’s route-running abilities.

In fact, Johnson even quote tweeted Jackson’s statement about Jeudy’s route running abilities with three fire emojis. The master route-runner endorsing the rookie’s abilities.

“For him to be rookie, his tempo and his routes—the way he can change pace and the way he sells things is very rare. It’s going to be a challenge for opposing defenses and guys in the secondary,” Jackson said. “For us, getting a chance to see him every day is going to help us. There’s another guy we see twice a year that kind of puts us in the mind of him in terms of getting in and out of breaks and running routes. For us to be able to see him on a day-to-day basis is going to help us. He’s going to pose a challenge for some other defenses.”

Bouye echoed a similar statement to Jackson’s.

“The stems that he showed, leverage and how he attacks everything—he gets your feet to stop and that’s when it’s over,” the corner said with amazement. “I like seeing things like that. It’s just helping me game plan myself against him because you never know when other receivers are going to try and implement that.”

An eight-year corner and a ten-year safety are already learning and benefiting from going up against the 21-year-old rookie.

“When I watch Jerry Jeudy, he kind of reminds me a lot of Amari Cooper in Oakland with how he’s running his routes, especially when guys are playing off,” Bouye stated, comparing Jeudy to the now $20 million per year receiver.

Along with their route-running abilities, Cooper and Jeudy have plenty of similarities. Both had exceptional careers at Alabama. Both are listed at 6-foot-1. Both were first-round picks.

In his five years in the NFL, Cooper has been a 1,000-yard receiver four times and earned himself a $100-million contract in March. Not too shabby of a comparison for Jeudy.

“He is a good route runner. That was obvious watching his college tape,” Vic Fangio said on Thursday, throwing a compliment the rookie’s way. “He’s got a good feel for it, but he’s going to have to be able to bring that up to the next level against press coverage and against various different coverages that he’ll see in the NFL. He’ll see more than he saw in college. He’s going to have to adapt that ability to bring it to the next level. He’s not there yet but I think he should be able to.”

The head coach is absolutely right; Jeudy’s not a finished product. But that’s what makes him even more dangerous. If he’s already where Jackson and Bouye say he’s at, what could he become if he continues to get better?

As Ochocinco may say, fire emoji.

To recap: Jeudy reminds the Broncos’ secondary of a $20 million per year receiver, the rookie’s skills are already helping the veterans improve their game and he’s the best to ever get in and out of his breaks.

Oh all of this in his first week of camp, too. Not too shabby, rook.


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