Second-year receiver Jerry Jeudy has already impressed through training camp and his preseason appearances, leading many to project a breakout season for the wideout.
Jeudy, who showcased explosive potential as a rookie, spent the offseason focused on improving his route-running and becoming the most-dangerous version of himself.
"Jerry Jeudy realizes the margin is razor-thin between what he did as a rookie and producing an explosive 2021 season many are predicting," The Denver Post's Kyle Newman said.
Jeudy was already touted as one of the best route-runners coming out of college, and he has crossed enough corners and figuratively broken enough ankles through training camp to solidify that reputation. But Jeudy isn't settling for being 'one of the best' — he's focused on getting even better.
"When it comes to route-running you've got to know the time and the place (to cut), and where you're at on the (quarterback's) progression," Jeudy said. "That's the biggest thing I improved on this year — knowing the timing of the route, and where I'm at in the progression to time that up with the route-running."
Entering his second season in Denver, Jeudy has matured and become more familiar with the offense, as well as having a full preseason under his belt. In combination with the big-play potential he showed as a rookie, Jeudy could be in line for a big year in 2021.
"Last year, the 15th overall pick had flashes of brilliance," Newman said, "such as his 92-yard touchdown catch against the Raiders in Week 17, the longest TD reception in the NFL in 2020. And he showed the ability to be a playmaker by ranking seventh in the league at 16.5 yards per catch."
Head Coach Vic Fangio believes Jeudy's maturation will play a big role in his success this season.
"He's going to have a really good year for us," Fangio said. "What does that translate into statistically, you never know, but he's a much more mature player right now. He knows what he's doing in our system and he's playing with a lot more confidence, both from experiencing an NFL season and from experiencing the same offense two years in a row."
While expectations are high, Jeudy has earned them through his hard work and performance on the field. Jeudy was a nearly impossible cover during joint practices with the Minnesota Vikings, and he shined in limited preseason appearances.
"Jeudy's preseason performance provided encouraging early returns," Newman said. "Not only did Jeudy look uncoverable against the Vikings and Seahawks backups over the first two games (Jeudy played just eight snaps in the third preseason game), he also showed that his elusiveness in the open field has increased."
Below the Fold
Second-round pickRB Javonte Williams has impressed through his first NFL offseason, garnering praise and comparisons to other talented rushers following an impressive training camp and solid preseason performance.
The most recent comparison comes from his teammate, newly named starting QB Teddy Bridgewater, who likened parts of Williams' skill set to that of four-time Pro Bowl Saints' RB Alvin Kamara.
"I get asked about Javonte often, and I told someone — I don't want to be seen like I'm reaching or anything — but he possesses some of those qualities that you see in Alvin Kamara," Bridgewater said Wednesday.
Bridgewater would know if the two RBs share similarities — he and Kamara were teammates in New Orleans. Kamara is often praised for his dual-threat capabilities, and Bridgewater seems to be impressed with a similar skill set in Williams, praising the versatility of the rookie RB.
"He catches the ball well out of the backfield. He runs good routes," Bridgewater said. "He has a low center of gravity. He's strong. He knows how to set up blocks. You see that in a guy — he's only a rookie."
Kamara, who was a third-round pick for the Saints in 2017, went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year on the back of a dominant first season. If Williams has the potential to mimic that success in his own rookie season, the Broncos offensive backfield could be one of the best in the league in 2021.
"His ceiling is so high. He has great coaching as well," Bridgewater said. "This coaching staff is doing a great job of grooming him and preparing him for what's in store this season."