Editor’s note: NBC Sports Bay Area will preview the NFL draft with an overview of the 49ers’ main needs, profiles of prospects who might be suitable, as well as hidden gems in subsequent rounds. In this episode, we describe Alabama Jerry Jeudy’s wide receiver.
NFL top hope Jerry Jeudy could be exactly what 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was looking for.
Shanahan has remained firm in his belief that it is not necessary to be the largest or fastest wide receiver to be the most effective and productive. There are several other qualities that remain higher on Shanahan’s list, and it appears that Jeudy checks most, if not all, of these boxes.
Michael Locksley, Jeudy’s offensive coach and coordinator for the receiver’s first two seasons with the Alabama Crimson Tide, spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about the receiver’s unique talents.
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“I can’t say enough about his abilities as a road runner,” said Locksley. “I think that with Jerry, it’s his ability and his suddenness that he has to get in and out of a break, whether it’s going back to the ball that is the hardest break that the catches make, when they work back towards the quarterback.
“He has the ability to be at full speed and lose weight – or, as they say, sink his hips – to stop on a dime, and he always gives the illusion of speed always at the top of the road but is capable, without taking the small steps you see, people normally have to take to dismount and change direction. “
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Leigh Steinberg of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, who represents Jeudy, was also impressed by his client’s journey.
“He may be the best road runner I have ever seen in college in 40 years,” said Steinberg at NBC Sport Bay Area. “He goes through the most precise routes. He is also very intelligent. “
With a clear course and the ability to change direction on a penny, Jeudy is able to achieve separation, which Shanahan has repeatedly said as one of the most important aspects of being a receiver.
Another trait Shanahan has been looking for has been illustrated by All-Pro tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel throughout 2019: gaining yards after capture.
“Excellent post-race capture,” said Locksley of the Alabama receiver. “He’s a guy with loose limbs and a loose body. You watch it and its ability to make people miss is as good as I have ever seen it. “
Steinberg noted that Jeudy had also impressed him off the field, especially when the Alabama star met Hall of Fame catcher Jerry Rice while he was in Miami for the Super Bowl LIV.
“The most impressive thing that I saw of him was the way he interacted with the Hall of Fame receivers while he was in Miami for the Super Bowl,” said Steinberg. “He asked Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin and Cris Carter what their longevity secrets were. He is brilliant enough to use his time with the best, to improve his own performance. “
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Jeudy has been extremely productive in his three seasons in Alabama, scoring 159 passes for 2,742 yards, 26 touchdowns and averaging 17.2 yards per catch. It is inevitable that he will be a player who will have an impact on a team’s offense. What the 49ers will do with overall selection # 13 in the project, however, is much less certain.
NFL Selection Profile: Jerry Jeudy
Size: 6 feet 1
Weight: 193 pounds
Career statistics: 159 catches for 2,742 yards and 26 touchdowns
Combine measurable parameters
40 yard dash: 4.45 seconds (11th among wide receivers)
Vertical jump: 35.0 inch
Long jump: 120.0 inch
20 meter shuttle: 4.53 seconds
What the experts say
Mel Kiper, ESPN: “Jerry Jeudy is a precise kid, hitting routes, the first out of his break. It reminds me a lot of Marvin Harrison. “
Todd McShay, ESPN: “I think he is one of the top five players in the draft. “
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Media: “Bama WR Jerry Jeudy = good operator. It is so easy to move. It reminds me a bit of Robert Woods coming out of USC. Same framework, same understanding / instinct. “
Josh Norris, NBC Sports: “I know it’s easy to compare players from the same school, but it’s easy to see Calvin Ridley in Jerry Jeudy’s game. “
Projected tour: First (first 15 in total)