The 2020 offseason offers a chance for the Dolphins to take a massive step in their plans for a successful rebuild. Despite finishing 5-11 and destroying any dreams of getting the first overall pick, the team has an endless supply of draft capital, with three first round picks in this year’s draft. As is often the case with rebuilding teams, the Dolphins have many holes to patch, with various needs including quarterback, running back, wide receiver, offensive line, and plenty of spots on defense.
At wide receiver the team has capable players, but I’m not sure if any feel like a true WR1 at this point. DeVante Parker pulled up the best season of his career and finished top five in receiving yards and touchdowns, but I’m also skeptical if he can put another season statistically similar to this considering his previous body of work.
That’s why I think Miami needs to find a game changing talent at the position to elevate that group to the next level. One possible solution is Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy, a highly coveted prospect that has the potential of landing inside the top 10 of this year’s draft.
In his last two seasons with the Crimson Tide, Jeudy put up 2,478 yards and 10 touchdowns on 145 catches and 17.1 yards per reception, taking home First Team All-SEC in both seasons. Playing for a big name school like Bama will give you more attention, and Jeudy’s star power made a name for himself as one of this year’s top prospects.
Jeudy is worthy of all the attention he’s gotten and then some. He offers incredible range for a receiver and would immediately boost the Dolphins offense if they were to draft him. For more on that, let’s take a look at some of his tape and see why he’s so likable.
Late in a blowout against New Mexico State, Jeudy lines up outside left with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. It’s here that he shows off one of the most appealing aspects of his game; his ability to create after the catch.
Just after the catch point, Jeudy puts his right foot down and pushes off, accelerating up the middle
Once Jeudy turns on the jets, he’s able to cut through a couple of tacklers on his way for the score. He’s a slippery, elusive receiver after the catch point and is basically unstoppable with the tiniest amount of space in the open field.
Let’s look at another example below.
Jeudy runs like a robot. His ability to stop and go is done in the blink of an eye, and as shown in this play he’ll create 10-15 additional yards out of nothing. He’s too good in this area to even be stopped.
As vital as it is to separate after the catch, it’s more important for a receiver to be able to separate before it. Jeudy is able to do this as his route running ability is incredible.
Lined up on this 2nd and 6 against Michigan...
...Jeudy uses a slow first step and immediately bursts outside, putting him one step ahead of the press attack used by the Michigan corner. The pass from Mac Jones is underthrown, but fortunately defensive pass interference is committed intentionally on the play as to prevent a touchdown.
For this example, Jeudy is lined up in the slot against more off ball coverage.
The receiver cuts inside...
...then breaks out, leaving the defensive back in the dust as he’s able to provide his quarterback with a safe, short throw just inside the numbers.
Jeudy is advanced as a route runner, and here he combines a quick hip turn with a great head fake, making the LSU DB bite and freeing him up outside. This is the kind of skills that are sustainable in the NFL for a long period of time. As players get older, their ability to create YAC may decline, but with the right skill set they can still generate ample separation.
The deadliest aspect of Jeudy’s game, however, comes from his hesitance as a route runner. Similar to guys like Antonio Brown and Doug Baldwin, Jeudy has incredible control of his speed and uses that to disrupt the pace and timing of his foes on the opposing side.
Against South Carolina, #4 provided two dazzling examples of expert patience.
Jeudy’s movement isn’t edited. This is undoctored footage of him intentionally delaying his release after the snap and catching the DB confused. With a quick push off his first step, Jeudy baits the defender into attacking a go route, which fails as he cuts outside. The result is an excellent first down conversion on third and short.
The next example is an even better display of athleticism against press.
This time, Jeudy lines up outside on a third and five.
Jeudy intially looks bottled up against the sideline, but then he unleashes hell on the corner.
The receiver gets free for Mac Jones in spectacular fashion, as shown below.
That corner will never be the same after that devastating release from Jeudy. This is as good of an ankle breaking route as I’ve seen at the college level, and as the icing on the cake it allows him to rack up more yards after the catch.
Jerry Jeudy is a highly skilled, highly consistent receiver that—outside of minor drop problems—is the real deal. The only question in regards to Miami is should they use the fifth overall pick on a guy like him, or use it to select a quarterback? Considering they have three first round picks and it’s unclear whether other teams would be interested in drafting Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, it’s not as risky of a decision as it would appear, though taking a quarterback first is also extremely understandable.
Whatever the Dolphins do at #5, they should keep Jeudy in mind throughout the entire process. He’s a cyborg disguised as a wide receiver, capable of ankle breaking plays before and after the catch in ways you can only get from a few players at the position. He’s a game changer, and Miami would not regret drafting him if they do.