There was never any doubt the Denver Broncos had their top guy still on the board when their turn to pick came up at number fifteen. John Elway was all smiles after they turned their card in selecting Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
“I think, first of all, yeah. It was obviously, with all the mocks, he got there some time,” Elway said on Thursday. “We thought it was 50-50 whether he would get there or not. We were actually surprised both of them got there—CeeDee as well as Jerry. I think what we liked about Jerry was the fact that his route-running ability, his speed, being able to plant a foot, get out of a break, the experience that he has, and obviously playing in the SEC, plus the production that he’s had. We met with him in Indianapolis and really liked him, liked his mentality of what he thought about the game of football and how he wants to attack the game of football and it’s important to him. It was very close, but we’re glad we had an opportunity to pick and Jerry was our guy from the get-go.”
We at Mile High Report were seeing plenty of mock drafts too and I wouldn’t even say 50% of those had Jerry Jeudy available at 15. That’s why so many of us believed Denver was going to have top trade up to get one of the big three in this 2020 NFL Draft. Instead, Henry Ruggs III went first to the Las Vegas Raiders and both CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy were that for Denver.
Elway got his guy and Broncos fans couldn’t be happier about it. Jeudy was the top guy on their board and for once BPA matched need in the first round.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of good football players at 15,” Elway said, “but you know what I think—and the depth at wide receiver, no question, had it—but I think when it came down to it, Jerry, who we had as our top-ranked guy when he fell to us there, he was our guy. We had those discussions. I think it could of have fallen different. Who knows how it would have gone, but I think we definitely were talking about it all week and for the last three or four days, especially when we’d talk about strategy and what our strategy was going to be with the draft. We’re just glad Jerry was there, and we didn’t have to make the move of going back.”
Jeudy will be paired with rising superstar Courtland Sutton and second-year tight end Noah Fant, which should put plenty of stress on opposing defenses in the coming years.
“I think any time you get a receiver that’s hard to cover, that stresses the defense,” Fangio said. “It’s as simple as that. We think he’s hard to cover and once he does catch it, he can run pretty good with it after. It’s as simple as that. Can you cover him or not?”
On offense, it becomes a numbers game and the numbers now favor Denver against most opposing defenses in the NFL. Fangio continued on that thread by noting how the amount of offensive weapons can really negatively impact what a team can do on defense to stop them.
“It obviously becomes a more stressful situation,” Fangio said. “The more weapons an offense has whether it be multiple receivers, a tight end, running backs, a quarterback that is a good quarterback and moves too—the more of those that you have to defend, the harder it is on a defense. We’re looking to make our offense a little bit more stressful for people to defend.”
Elway and the Broncos can now breathe a sigh of relief having had the draft board fall exactly the way they needed it to fall to land the top wide receiver on their board. You really can’t love how things went any more than they did on Day 1.
Not only did the Broncos not have to trade up to their guy, they still have four picks on Day 2 to keep bringing in more impact players.
“It is a big weight off of my shoulders and our shoulders,” Elway said. “I think that, obviously, that was a big position of need for us. Not only did we need that position, but we needed that to make Courtland [Sutton] better too because as we saw at the end of last year they were trying to take Courtland out of the game. We know what a great football player he is. Adding somebody not only because it was a need, we needed somebody, but it’s also going to make Courtland that much better too. It’s nice to be able to go to bed tonight knowing that we got the receiver that we coveted. Then we’ve got a big day tomorrow. We have four picks tomorrow so we’re looking forward to that.”
The only caveat with the pick were the concerns over Jeudy’s knee injury. The injury occurred in April of 2018 and was a partial lateral meniscectomy. Elway and his team felt comfortable with that issue enough to draft him anyway.
“All the information we had,” Elway said, “when it comes right down to his health all the information that we had, and then ‘Greek’ and his crew, Steve Antonopulos and [Head Athletic Trainer] Vince Garcia, our training crew, they do extensive work on everybody. We felt very comfortable with Jerry’s knee and where he was, so that was not an issue.”
There’s also two full seasons of game tape of Jeudy breaking ankles and making huge plays on his way to 145 catches for 2,478 yards and 24 touchdowns at Alabama since injuring that knee.
The Broncos got a special player here and will make an impact on this team Week 1.