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The New York Jets first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft is Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama.

3rd in a series

Arkansas v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Jerry Jeudy is a 6’ 1” 192 lb wide receiver from the University of Alabama. He has good size and is an excellent route runner with some of the quickest feet for a man his size. He is a well-coached player with a solid character to go along with game changing skills. Jeudy is the 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner given to the nation’s top wide receiver. He is a soft-spoken kid, a player who doesn’t trash talk. He lets his play do the talking.

Jeudy is currently 2nd all time in touchdown receptions in Alabama history with 25 trailing only Amari Cooper. His 153 receptions and his 2,538 receiving yards both rank as top five in the Alabama record books while playing in only 35 games for the Tide.

Jeudy was one of the highest rated receiver prospects in the nation coming out of high school in Deerfield Beach, Florida. He had 76 receptions for 1,054 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Deerfield Beach High. His school was well known for developing football talent with players like Denard Robinson and Jason Pierre-Paul (among others) having walked its halls.

Deerfield High had gone through a stretch of poor records before Jeudy arrived. They even had a new coach, Jevon Glenn who was promoted from head coach of the junior varsity. Glenn knew Jeudy was a star, but Jeudy wasn’t as sure as his coach.

“When he got out there and started feeling like, I’m going against guys that were supposed to be five-stars and I’m taking it to them. I can do it, then he put himself in that class and after that, it was a wrap.” said coach Glenn.

Deerfield hadn’t won a state championship in over a decade. It last chance was a 2005 triple overtime defeat to Miami High. Jeudy led his team to the class 8A (the biggest schools in the state) semifinal. Deerfield won a close game 28-21, but tragedy would strike Jeudy literally during the game.

Jeudy’s 7-year old sister Aaliyah, who was born with a speech defect and lived her life with breathing tubes, passed away while Jeudy was playing in the state semifinal. It was a day that encompassed great joy only to end in bitter sadness.

Jeudy went into a “very dark place” as he put it. His sister had shown him how to persevere through life’s difficulties. He admired her strength. He had hoped that his work ethic and skill would allow him to one day pay for a better life for his entire family.

He had to play the next round of the state championship and then go to her funeral the very next day. Jeudy played well for his school but they lost 26-7, starting the most difficult two day period of his young life.

Jeudy basically had his choice of any school in the country during the recruiting season. He chose Alabama because of its tremendous tradition of great wide receivers with Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and now Calvin Ridley. Jeudy felt he could possibly extend that tradition to one more player, himself.

Jeudy didn’t play all that much as a freshman at Alabama (which is normal), but he did appear in 9 games catching 14 passes for 264 yards (18.9 ave) and 2 TDs. As a sophomore he shined as the nation’s best receiver (Biletnikoff award) with 68 receptions, 1,315 yards, and 14 TDs. He was a quiet team leader who worked on his craft diligently during the year and after. He came into his junior year with a better understanding of how to be a route runner but he was not needed to carry the team as Alabama had 2 capable receivers (Ruggs and Waddle) to work next to him.

Jeudy is not a speedster, but he isn’t slow either. He was timed as a freshman at 4.47/40 although he might be a little faster now. What makes Jeudy special are his feet, his quick feet to be precise. He has the ability to come in and out of breaks very quickly. He can cut on a dime. Jeudy has the smoothness of a dancer in his breaks. This first clip is of the second play of the game against Missouri.

Leave the center of the field open at your own peril when Jeudy is there. He has speed, moves, great hands, and can twist a defender like a pretzel in and out of breaks.

Here against Ole Miss he knows he has a touchdown after only 6 steps. Jeudy is in the slot, and when he sees his defender feign a blitz Jeudy knows there is no way he is going to get back in position to cover him. You see Jeudy raise his hand telling the QB to throw it now as, “I have my guy beat,” and he does.

Jeudy doesn’t do anything fancy here. He just recognizes the coverage and runs straight down the field because that was the play to make. He might have had a different route he was supposed to run, but he took advantage of a misguided attempt to harass the QB. He may be playing from the slot, but Jeudy can run a full route tree from anywhere on the field.

On the next clip Jeudy just bends his route around the cornerback without breaking stride. He knows he has him beat when the corner stops his feet for a split second. He bends around the corner to the outside as to not draw the safety over into coverage.

The ball is slightly underthrown and far too close to the sideline, or this would have been a touchdown. Still it gives you a good view of those quick feet.He does step out of bounds before he scores, but he makes it around a defender who is standing right in front of him, against the sideline. This defender can barely can get a hand on Jeudy as he reaches the end zone.

Here is the same play from another angle.

I love the way Jeudy comes off the ball with great acceleration to eat up the cushion of the defender. This causes him have to make a choice on how he is going to play it. You see that Jeudy runs straight at the corner and doesn’t give away his intentions until he is right up on top of his foe.

Jeudy is a great hands catcher, but since he has his defender in trail mode with his back to the QB he doesn’t put his hands in position to catch until the ball is almost there. In this way the corner has no way of knowing when the ball will arrive which limits his ability to break up the pass with a outstretched arm or hand. This is a subtle but effective way to keep the defender guessing and is a very advanced technique for a 20 year old.

Jeudy is 6’ 1” (probably closer to 6’), but he is not a big physical receiver. Many players with Jeudy’s physical stature will struggle against press coverage in the NFL. Jeudy avoids some of this by playing in the slot, but he is not immune from the press technique just because of that. One sure way to beat the press is to have ultra quick feet.

Jeudy takes a huge jab step which makes the defender take a false step to the inside. This allows Jeudy the outside release he wants. Now the corner actually plays this very well, but it makes no difference as Jeudy makes a difficult catch look routine. Again he doesn’t let the defender know the ball is coming until it’s too late.

This next play is from the Championship Game against Clemson. With the corner playing in off coverage (way off), it gives Jeudy the ability to tie him into a knot by weaving in and out, then back in again. The corner has no chance once Jeudy reaches his level.

If you look at the field of view before the snap, there is no safety in the middle of the field. As the ball is snapped Tua (the QB) can’t get through the play fake fast enough so he can gets the ball downfield before Jeudy outruns his arm. I said it before. You play without a safety in the middle of the field at your own peril as Jeudy is gonna make you pay for that.

This next play is from the Iron Bowl against Auburn and is basically a go route with Jeudy playing outside against press coverage. Again quick feet can beat press coverage as Jeudy gives a jab step inside then releases outside. Jeudy does a nice job of not straying too close to the sideline, leaving Tua room to fit the ball in.

Jeudy runs outside but still keeps the defender on his back. This is called “stacking a defender” and is another solid technique that is shown by a 20 year old kid. When you stack a defender it allows the receiver to catch the ball over his shoulder without the defender being able to make a play on the ball.

The corner is running with his back to the QB so he can’t see the ball. If the receiver keeps him on his back, the receiver can slow down slightly to adjust to the thrown ball. He sees the ball in the air slows down slightly then accelerates to the football when the time is right. It makes it look like a perfectly thrown ball, and the corner is helpless to stop it without interfering with the receiver.

This next play is just a slant route that Jeudy takes to the house. Jeudy is in motion so the defender cannot press him or redirect him. He is playing too far off. Jeudy is not afraid to cross the middle of the field to make a play.

Again there is no safety in the middle of the field so once Jeudy gets by his corner the race is over. The shallow cross by the tight end takes the inside linebacker out of the passing lane so Jeudy just basically has to cross the face of the corner and outrace him to the goal line. This is like stealing it is so easy.

When will these teams learn about the lack of a safety in the deep secondary? Well this is a play near the goal line so everyone is in man coverage which is death against a quick receiver with a free release.

Jeudy’s defender is standing on the goal line with his feet planted in cement. It didn’t make a difference if Jeudy went inside to the post or outside to the back corner of the endzone (what we used to call a flag route). The defender had no way of covering either route. Tua takes the shotgun snap and hurries through the play fake just quick enough to get the ball to Jeudy who is already wide open in the end zone.

There is even a free runner who plants Tua as soon as he releases the ball, but Jeudy gets to his spot so quickly that even a free running defensive tackle can’t get to the QB in time to stop the play. Yet again you see Jeudy accelerate so quickly at the defender (running straight at the corner), and once he gets to him there is nothing the corner can do besides trip him as he races by him.

Jerry Jeudy is a young receiver who is technically advanced for his age. He has a skill set that should do well in the NFL. He has a number of possible jobs he could fill depending on the offense. He could be a quick, highly targeted slot player like a Jamison Crowder or an outside receiver who runs slip and bubble screens along with a full route tree.

He is more of a Calvin Ridley player as opposed to a Julio Jones type. He is not a big and rugged receiver who can take a bunch of big hits so you don’t want to run him across the middle a lot. He is bigger than a Tyler Lockett out in Seattle, but I picture Jeudy as the same type of receiver, a guy who has big play capability yet makes a lot of plays near the sideline.

Jeudy will be a first round pick which means he will be selected by a team the day before he turns 21 (April 24th). I don’t know yet how high that will be, but I’m guessing somewhere between picks 10 - 15. That guess is very preliminary, but if it is correct a team like the Jets might be able to slide down a few spots in the first round, pick up some additional Draft capital, and pick a solid receiver.

I myself am not a fan of taking wide receivers in the first round because the bust rates for first round receivers is higher than any other position other than quarterbacks. Yet in the case of Jeudy I might make an exception, especially if it’s in a trade down scenario.

Jeudy is a quality prospect, and he passes all the character tests. He’s a solid kid. He is well coached and humble which is always a good thing. He would be a quality improvement to any receivers room and has Pro Bowl talent if in the right offense.

What do you think?