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'I know the player I could be': Jerry Jeudy eager to return to the end zone, realize potential in Year 3

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In his final collegiate season, Jerry Jeudy scored 10 touchdowns.

The previous year, 14. As a freshman, two.

In high school, Jeudy caught double-digit touchdowns in each of his final two seasons.

And, when he entered the pro ranks in 2020, he scored three touchdowns as a rookie.

That, perhaps, can explain Jeudy's frustration from a year ago — when he did not score a touchdown in 10 games — and why he's so eager to return to the end zone in 2022.

"I can't wait to touch that paint," Jeudy said Tuesday. "That's my first time ever playing the game of football not being able to score a touchdown. I know this year when I get in that end zone, y'all are gonna feel me."

Jeudy believes Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett's offense and the addition of Russell Wilson should help him get back to scoring touchdowns, and there's plenty of reason to believe that's true. Before Jeudy sat out the Broncos' first two minicamp practices, he got plenty of targets from Wilson during the offseason program.

Jeudy's route-running ability is unmatched by most in the league, and he's a mismatch for plenty of defenders. Some have suggested his skill set is similar to that of Davante Adams, whom Hackett and the Packers helped find great success in Green Bay.

"Jerry's going to be dangerous," safety Justin Simmons said. "I think the way that they've been using him and the way that we've had to key on him in just OTAs — training camp obviously it's going to be amped up more' but Jerry's going to have a heck of a year, man. I can't wait to watch him play and just be let go, run free, do what he does best. He's one of the best route runners that I think I've consistently gone up against over and over and over. You've got to lock in, know where your leverage is, know where your help is, because if you don't, he can't make you look silly in practice. I'm thankful for that too, because we go up against a lot of guys that are talented, but Jerry's special, for sure. I think it's going to be a big and great year for him."

Should Jeudy put up big numbers, it would send a message in his third NFL season about his ceiling as a player. As a rookie, Jeudy caught 52 passes for 856 yards and a pair of 100-yard games.

The early returns in 2021 suggested more of the same for Jeudy. In the Broncos' season opener, he caught six passes for 72 yards to lead all Denver receivers. Jeudy, though, suffered a nasty ankle injury that knocked him out of the game — and kept him out of the lineup for six weeks. Though he returned late in the year, he posted a season high of 77 yards and did not find the end zone.

Jeudy said Tuesday he knows he is capable of more.

"I'm motivated myself, because I know the player I could be and the potential I have," Jeudy said. "Having Russell, it's just going to make me a better player also. I'm just excited to see how this season goes."

The second wide receiver drafted in 2020, Jeudy believes the team's new offense should put him position to find that desired success. Jeudy said the new system "most certainly" gives him better odds to succeed.

"Coach Hackett and Russ [are] going to do a good job to put us in the best position possible to be successful in this offense," Jeudy said. "I feel that 100 percent."

Jeudy expects that success should extend to more than just his own stats.

"The ceiling is high," Jeudy said of the offense. "It's going to be a lot of big plays. A lot of opportunities and a lot of explosive plays are going to be made out there. It's going to be exciting for real."

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