ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — New Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur's system is predicated on taking shots down the field and putting pressure on opposing secondaries.
On Thursday night, the Broncos added a player to help him implement such a system.
The Broncos drafted wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the 15th-overall pick, and the 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner should make Shurmur's first season leading Denver's offense a bit easier.
"Well he's an outstanding player and certainly we were thrilled that he was available when we were picking," Shurmur told DenverBroncos.com's Phil Milani. "Behind the scenes, we did a bunch of mock drafts and we weren't all that certain he would be there. So we were thrilled. He's obviously an outstanding player. He's won a lot of football games. He's played the wide receiver position at a high level in a conference and for a team that's excelled. So we're thrilled about that. He's a winner. Aside from that, he did a great job when he played in the slot. He can also play outside. So he sort of fits that player that we want to play opposite of Courtland Sutton. He was a fit for us obviously schematically. [He's] an outstanding player."
Shurmur said coaches and players alike were "thrilled" by the selection, including second-year quarterback Drew Lock.
"There were a lot of smiles," Shurmur said. "I know they were remote smiles, but there were a lot of smiles amongst the Broncos coaches and players. I spoke to Drew briefly last night and he was obviously thrilled as well. We're excited to get him into the fold."
Shurmur said after thorough evaluation of Jeudy and other receivers in the draft, the team feels "very, very confident" that the Alabama product will have an "outstanding" career in Denver.
"Well, obviously in college you look at the level of competition — and [Alabama is] playing at the highest level there against a lot of the best teams and the best corners," Shurmur said. "Frequently, when you're watching a wideout in the SEC, you're seeing him a couple games a year going against a corner that's going to probably be picked in the same round as he is. You can't get a better evaluation then what you get down there. Obviously, we saw him perform at a high level against outstanding talent."
Shurmur knows first-hand about the type of coaching Jeudy received at Alabama. The Crimson Tide's head coach, Nick Saban, was an assistant at Michigan State when Shurmur played there in the 1980s. Later, Shurmur worked on Saban's staff in East Lansing after he took over as head coach.
"I obviously know Coach Saban and his wife Terry," Shurmur said. "I know them very well. … I know the guy that Jerry played for. Outstanding coach. He's an outstanding recruiter, but more than anything, when he gets the players, he coaches them hard, he teaches them how to win and he's obviously one of the most outstanding college coaches of all-time. I sort of know that this guy's been coached hard, but he's been coached in a way that's going to really translate to our game."
Shurmur will now guide an offense that features Lock, Sutton, Jeudy, Noah Fant, Phillip Lindsay, Melvin Gordon and an improved offensive line.
"I'm thrilled obviously with what we did in free agency — added to a really talented young roster from last year's team," Shurmur said. "And now we add another piece like Jerry. It's very exciting. I'm used to working with young rosters. I had the same situation a year ago in New York. Those guys really developed, and I think they all have bright futures as they play further into their career. But I'm certainly looking forward to working with the guys we're working with here."
Shurmur's offenses have ranked in the top 20 in scoring in each of his last six full seasons as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, and only five NFL teams produced more plays of 20 yards or more than Shurmur's Giants from 2018-19.
After the Broncos' offensive struggles over the last several seasons, that would be a welcome change.
And with Jeudy in the mix, those big plays could be headed to Denver very soon.