Denver Broncos rising star Jerry Jeudy is expected to finally take off this 2022-23 season alongside the newly acquired quarterback in Russell Wilson to run the offense. Dating back to his days at Alabama, Jeudy has been one of the most polished route runners that NFL scouts have come across. With this heightened usage, however, comes the potential for injury. While his professional career has been short, he has logged his own share of injuries, including a rib injury, shoulder injury, low and high ankle sprains, and a groin injury, which just occurred in 2022-23 training camp. His usage and position predispose him to these physical dings over time but it’s important we don’t overlook how these factors may continue to affect him going into his third year.
Taking a delve into his injury history, Jeudy has suffered a torn meniscus and subsequent surgery prior to entering the league; even though it occurred back in 2018, it is fair to make note of it. The re-tear rate of meniscus repairs is relatively low though. During his first year in the NFL, out of the rib injury, shoulder injury, and ankle sprain, none of the ailments caused serious insult nor did they force him out of playing time. In comparison though, last season the high ankle sprain was the biggest concern and caused him to be out for 6 weeks and end up on IR. Yes, he did overcome this injury and return to play later in the season, but what occurred and what is the long term effect from this, if any?
An ankle sprain is an injury that occurs from a roll, twist, or turn of the ankle, stressing the ligament that maintain the stability of ankle bones. Sprains could be categorized as either a low, mid or high ankle sprain depending on the location in the ankle and grade 1, 2, or 3 depending on severity. High ankle sprains tend to be the most severe of the three. High ankle sprains, which are specifically caused from external rotation and hyperflexion of the ankle, can take anywhere from 2-12 weeks to return from, depending on the grade of injury and sprain and the structures involved. Jeudy remained out for 6 weeks, suggesting the sprain was of the mild to moderate variety. Unfortunately, athletes who sustain high ankle sprains may continue to have functional limitations from continued pain or ankle instability. Recurrence of injury is also always a lingering concern after rehab, which is something to keep an eye out for moving forward.
Based on his full recovery subsequently and ability to make it through the duration of camp up to this point without affliction, I don't see a serious risk with drafting and starting Jeudy. Realistically, Jeudy’s style of play at the WR position presents as loose and quick, and comes along with lateral movements and quick adjustments which could be a call for concern for fantasy owners. If we were to rate his potential injury risk on scale from 1 to 5, 1 being low injury risk with no performance impact and 5 being high injury risk with severe performance impact, I would rate him a 3 for the 2023 season. DRAFT AND START JERRY, a potential league winner with top 5 WR upside.