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Mile High Morning: Pro Football Focus ranks Jerry Jeudy as top breakout candidate among third-year players


The Lead

Before the Broncos finished their offseason workout program, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy described the pains that he felt during his second season, both physically and mentally in going touchdown-less in a season for the first time in his football life.

"I can't wait to touch that paint," Jeudy said on June 14. "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."

With the addition of quarterback Russell Wilson, a strong rebound effort seems almost certain for Jeudy as he enters his third season. Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner agrees, writing recently that Jeudy is the top candidate for a breakout season in 2022 among third-year players.

"His skill set and route-running ability are very similar to the man who caught more passes from Wilson than anyone else: Doug Baldwin," Renner wrote. "After lining up primarily on the outside as a rookie, Jeudy went back to his college roots in the slot in 2021, where Baldwin also primarily operated over the course of his career. That's a role that Wilson is obviously very comfortable pumping targets toward."

Before retiring after the 2018 season, Baldwin was a two-time Pro Bowler with Wilson as his quarterback. In the four seasons when he started at least 15 games, Baldwin averaged about 110 targets, 78 receptions, eight touchdowns and over 1,000 yards a year.

Below the Fold

Just how good Pat Surtain II could be is tough to evaluate, but there's a good chance that he's already better than some people think. CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr picked Surtain as the most underappreciated player on the Broncos, which is surprising given how much Surtain started as a rookie and was named an alternate for the 2022 Pro Bowl.

"Patrick Surtain II already demonstrated how good he's going to be in Denver's defense, as he is already showcasing why he's a No. 1 cornerback in the NFL," Kerr wrote. "Not only did Surtain have four interceptions and 15 passes defensed last season, but opposing quarterbacks targeting him completed just 53.3% of their passes and had a 51.7 passer rating against him as the primary defender."

The Unclassifieds

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