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Mile High Morning: ESPN's Mike Clay names Jerry Jeudy as the Broncos' X factor in 2022 

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The Lead

The Broncos are primed for a major bounce-back year with the addition of Russell Wilson, but the team's success could hinge on the production of one key player.

ESPN's Mike Clay selected a group of players that be X factors for their team's chances during the 2022 season, and he selected Jerry Jeudy as a vital player for the Broncos. If Jeudy reaches his greatest level of production, Clay noted, the Broncos could soar to new heights.

"The 15th overall pick of the 2020 draft, Jeudy followed up a rookie-season receiving line of 52-856-3 by missing six games and struggling to a 38-467-0 line in 2021," Clay wrote. "A lot of the blame for the lack of production goes to the Broncos' poor quarterback play, but that's no longer an excuse with Wilson in town. Jeudy living up to his elite pedigree will be a driving force in whether Denver can make the playoffs while playing in the AFC West."

The Broncos were also a top-10 team on Clay's NFL preseason power rankings, and their placement was in large part due to what Wilson brings to the offense.

"In a word, 'Russ,'" Clay wrote. "Denver finally solved its quarterback void by acquiring Russell Wilson, which sets this team up as a contender in the AFC. Wilson will have plenty of help in the form of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Javonte Williams, as well as a solid line led by tackle Garett Bolles. The defensive front seven isn't overly intimidating, but that's offset by a strong secondary led by Justin Simmons and Pat Surtain II. Let's ride."

Clay also ranked each team's offensive and defensive units, and the Broncos earned multiple top-10 designations. He ranked the Broncos' running backs No. 6 overall, while the quarterbacks placed No. 9. On the defensive side, the secondary received high placements — both the cornerbacks and safeties were ranked No. 8 overall.

Below the Fold

“Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli” makes its return on Sept. 12, and it will kick off with the Broncos' Week 1 matchup against the Seahawks. Fans can tune in to ESPN2 or ESPN+ to watch the Manning brothers provide commentary as the Broncos take on Seattle to begin the season.

"The Emmy-award winning 'Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli,' with its off-the-cuff commentary, authentic reactions, entertaining facial expressions and treasure trove of guests, rides into its second season when Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos travel to Seattle for the regular season debut of ESPN's 'Monday Night Football' (Sept. 12, 8 p.m. ET)," ESPN's Derek Volner wrote.

The Unclassifieds

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