ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Jerry Jeudy has made his share of contributions over his first two NFL seasons.
As a rookie, he caught 52 passes for 856 yards and three touchdowns as he started 14 games. A year later, despite missing seven games due to injury, he produced at nearly the same pace. In 2021, Jeudy caught 38 passes for 467 yards as he saw his receptions per game increase and his yards per game decline by less than eight yards.
And yet, it seems like Jeudy has the ability to do much more. A dynamic route runner, the 2020 15th-overall pick has flashed his talent on plays like a 92-yard touchdown reception to end his rookie season against the Raiders. The early highlights also fail to consider his success at Alabama, where he caught 24 touchdowns over his final two years and won the Biletnikoff Award in 2018 as the nation's best receiver.
Picked ahead of CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson, the Alabama product's talent is readily apparent. In 2022, he'll aim to have his production rise to similar levels after just three combined touchdowns through his first two years.
"There's things you can and can't control," Jeudy said Wednesday. "The first two years are gone now, so I'm just focused on this year."
Jeudy has set goals for his third season but chose to keep them private, joking with the media that he'll reveal the benchmarks after he meets them.
With Russell Wilson now under center, those goals should presumably be easier to meet.
"He can help me a lot," Jeudy said. "He's a great quarterback, [a] Hall of Fame quarterback that came into the offense as a leader and [got] me better as well. He's going to help me a lot this year."
The two spent time together in San Diego at Wilson's home, and Jeudy said they fine-tuned route timing during the one-on-one work.
Wilson has also served as a source of motivation.
"Just his energy," Jeudy said of the difference between Wilson and previous quarterbacks. "Always uplifting guys, always motivating guys to go out there and just keep working hard. Even those off days, you don't feel like working or [doing] anything, he's the guy that comes up there and gets your mind right. That's a great guy to be around."
Jeudy may also benefit from the addition of Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett's offensive scheme, though he declined to say whether he'd be used similarly to how Davante Adams was used in Green Bay.
"I just know I'll do my part, whatever role he has me at," Jeudy said.
JEWELL RETURNS TO DENVER
Fifth-year inside linebacker Josey Jewell felt uncertain as he entered free agency earlier this year, but the Iowa product was happy with the result. The multi-year starter signed a two-year deal with the Broncos in March, and his return may have been one of the more underrated moves of the offseason.
Jewell posted a career best 113 tackles — nearly doubling his career high — in 2020 and also recorded a pair of sacks, five tackles for loss, five quarterback hits and four passes defensed as he returned to the starting lineup that year. At the start of 2021, he may have been even better. Jewell forced a fumble against the Giants in Week 1 and was a menace during the early moments of the Broncos' Week 2 win over the Jaguars.
At that moment, Jewell was playing like perhaps the best defensive player on the field.
"I definitely feel like I was playing some of the best ball I've played professionally so far," Jewell said Wednesday.
Jewell, though, suffered a pectoral injury while making a special teams tackle, and he was lost for the year.
Now, that early performance serves as motivation for Jewell, who said he returned to 100 percent health in February.
"[I'm] definitely looking up towards that and trying to better that from what I did last year," Jewell said, "and just trying to keep stacking those days and stacking the good games and good practices on top of each other."
In a reshaped inside linebacking room, Jewell remains one of the constants — and he again figures to be a staple of the Broncos' defense.