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Broncos top draft pick Jeudy makes great first impression

Fri Aug 14 3:39pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy takes part in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson takes part in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb, left, takes part in a drill with linebacker Justin Hollins at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, right, confers with guard Austin Schlottmann as they take part in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


A Denver Broncos employee puts up a cutout of Fred Fleming, the team's long-time handler of players, before drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. Fleming is not allowed at practices this year because of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller takes part in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller takes part in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant takes part in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons, right, listens to defensive backs coach Renaldo Hill during a break in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy went right to work dropping jaws Friday when the Denver Broncos gathered for their first full practice of 2020 under smoky skies from wildfires burning in the Rocky Mountains.

General manager John Elway, who spent his offseason buttressing Denver's offense, sat on the sideline smiling every time his top draft pick plucked another pass out of the haze, especially the one he cradled in the back of the end zone.

''I think he did some great things today, he ran some hella routes,'' safety and fellow Alabama alum Kareem Jackson said. ''He's that type of player. I've had a chance to watch him since he was a freshman, obviously with him going to my alma mater, that's one of the teams I watch every Saturday. So ... now having him as a teammate it's exciting.''

Jackson said Denver's D-backs were talking all about Jeudy, considered the best pure route runner in this year's deep class of talented rookie receivers.

''He can get in and out of his breaks better than anyone I've ever seen before,'' Jackson said. ''For him to be a rookie, his tempo and his routes, the way he can change his pace, the way he sells things, it's very rare.''

Rarer still is the rookie who can garner praise from veterans who say his presence will hone their own skills.

''To be able to see him on a day-to-day basis is definitely going to help us,'' Jackson said. ''But he's going to pose a challenge for other defenses.''

Jeudy has also made a good early impression on head coach Vic Fangio.

''He's got good polish as a receiver ... He runs good routes, he's got a good change of direction, good hands,'' Fangio said. ''And it was nice to see him make a couple of plays today.''

Jeudy gives second-year quarterback Drew Lock another top-flight target to team with No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton and last year's first-round draft pick, tight end Noah Fant, in an offense being designed by former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.

With coronavirus protocols, the league isn't allowing fans to attend training camp, so there wasn't the usual 2,000 fans on the berm overlooking the practice fields for the first time since the Broncos held their entire 2014 training camp minus fans because of construction projects at team headquarters.

''The fans are a very, very important part of pro sports and we all knew that. I knew that. But to me, it's very obvious when you watch sporting events without the fans, you miss them,'' Fangio said. ''Not just because of the support, but they're part of the action. And we miss them and can't wait to get them back, whenever that will be.''

The Broncos are still in talks with the governor's office about hosting upwards of 20,000 fans at their games this season.

NOT 100 PERCENT

For the second straight summer, tight end Austin Fort went down with a knee injury. After missing all last season, Fort ''tweaked his knee in one of the earlier workouts,'' Fangio said, adding he'll be out at least a couple more weeks.

Fort was the only player absent from Friday's practice.

Participating in his first practice since September was linebacker Bradley Chubb (knee).

''I like where he's at physically and mentally,'' Fangio said.

Also back was cornerback Bryce Callahan, who missed last year with a foot injury.

''Callahan had a good day today. It's good to see him out there moving around. His foot feels fine. He's confident and ready to go.''

HERE IN SPIRIT

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Broncos mainstay Fred Flemming, the team's 77-year-old director of special services, wasn't on hand at training camp. But his likeness was.

The Broncos put a life-size cardboard cutout of Flemming on the grassy knoll overlooking the football fields. You could almost hear him yelling at you to take a couple of steps back.

Notes: C Austin Schlottmann and RT Jake Rodgers ''are in the hunt, both for starting jobs and making the team,'' Fangio said. ... Teams weren't allowed to bring in free agents until a few days ago, so 12th-year tackle Demar Dotson is way behind in the playbook. ''Certainly he has the license and the permit to win a starting job if he can. But that remains to be seen. It's going to take us a little while here to find out where he's at.''

Player Notes
Cordarrelle Patterson Aug 14 4:30pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has been meeting with the running backs at camp, instead of the wide receivers. This could be an indication that head coach Matt Nagy is planning to use the speedy receiver out of the backfield more this year. This is Patterson's second year with the Bears. Last year, he caught 11 passes for 83 yards while adding 17 rushes for 103 yards. It's certainly an intriguing development, but we'll need to see it play out quite a bit more before we start to get excited about Patterson for fantasy purposes.

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Kevin Stefanski Aug 14 3:50pm ET

Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter underwent knee surgery on Thursday according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. The veteran lineman reportedly had the surgery to remove loose bodies from the knee. Stefanski would not elaborate on how long Tretter would be out but the NFL Network reported that he will probably only miss a couple weeks. In Tretters absence, rookie center Nick Harris will get a chance to show what he can do. Tretter is a key piece to a revamped Cleveland offensive line this year.

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Aaron Rodgers Aug 14 2:50pm ET

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre told the 'Load Management' podcast that he would "love to see" Aaron Rodgers on the Chicago Bears one day. History could be repeating itself after the Packers traded up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of this year's draft. Many have speculated and assumed that this was not happy news for Rodgers, prompting many to wonder how much longer Rodgers will be in a Packers uniform. Despite a dip in production in the second half of 2019, Rodgers still passed for 4,002 yards with 26 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The 36-year-old still has plenty of ability but currently finds himself towards the end of many fantasy top-10 QB lists. The former MVP will be a reliable option but will be drafted in the later rounds for the first time in his career.

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Chris Carson Aug 14 1:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson is yet to take part in training camp with the team. He is currently away from the Seahawks as he is dealing with a death in his family. The specifics of what Carson is dealing with have not been provided, but head coach Pete Carroll suggested that Carson could remain away from the team for awhile still. Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde has been taking snaps as the first-team running back and could stand to gain with the extra reps prior to the season. The team's other primary running back, Rashaad Penny, is currently on the PUP list.

From RotoBaller

Tavon Austin Aug 14 12:50pm ET

Wide receivers JJ Nelson and Tavon Austin are both likely to sign with the San Francisco 49ers, pending physicals. It's not surprising that the team is adding receiver depth with Deebo Samuel (broken foot) out for the start of the year. Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis are currently in place to serve as the top receivers for the team to start the year, but the additions of veterans like Nelson and Austin should help give quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo some additional support. Nelson and Austin don't need to be on draft radars at this point as they'll likely see limited snaps in four-receiver sets and gadget plays.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Aug 14 11:10am ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp each caught 90 passes for over 1,000 yards last year. However, this year, they could be in line for even more production. This offseason, the Rams lost Brandin Cooks, who accounted for 42 receptions for 583 yards last year as well as Todd Gurley, who compiled over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, including 31 receptions. The Rams didn't do much to replace these two players. Josh Reynolds will step into a bigger role at receiver while rookie Cam Akers and second-year running back Darrell Henderson Jr. will fill in for Gurley. In a highly-productive Rams offense, the ceiling is very high for both Woods and Kupp, who will be heavily featured this year and could provide WR1 numbers if they stay healthy.

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Kyler Murray Aug 14 10:50am ET

In a recent interview, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray gave ESPN's Josh Weinfuss a bit of insight to his vision for this upcoming season. Weinfuss asked Murray if he could see wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk all reaching 1,000 yards this year and Murray replied "Oh, yeah for sure. I definitely think that's possible." There's certainly no doubt that Murray has a fantastic arsenal of receivers this year with the addition of Hopkins. Last year, without Hopkins, Murray had an exceptional rookie year, throwing for 3,722 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He completed 64.4% of his passes and also rushed for 544 yards and four touchdowns. He could very well top those impressive numbers this year and secure his place amongst the top-tier of fantasy quarterbacks.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Aug 13 7:30pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II may not see a heavy set of reps during training camp and he was seen with a limp, per ESPN. The 26-year-old has been nursing a knee injury dating back to his tenure with the Rams in 2018. Gurley was once an elite fantasy commodity, but has now been set back by injuries. Last season, the back had 857 rush yards, 12 rush touchdowns, 31 receptions, 207 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns in 15 games. The Falcons are set to have a high-powered offense this season and Gurley will be the RB1, but the possibility of an injury or missed time will continue to loom over his fantasy value. Because of this, the Georgia product's fantasy value takes a hit and downgrades him to an RB2 for 2020.

From RotoBaller

Chris Godwin Aug 13 7:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin has been putting in the work to build rapport with new QB Tom Brady as training camps are continuing to progress. The 24-year-old was seen catching a pass from Brady on Tuesday as the two look to form a solid QB-WR duo. The now fourth-year player is coming off an incredible 2019 season in which he stockpiled 86 receptions, 1,333 yards, and nine touchdowns in 14 games. Despite having competition for targets on the team, Godwin enters 2020 as arguably a top-five fantasy receiver based on his performance from last season. The slow formation of chemistry with a legendary QB only helps his chances of accumulating similar stats from last season.

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Travis Kelce Aug 13 4:10pm ET

The Kansas City Chiefs and tight end Travis Kelce agreed to a four-year, $57.25 million extension on Thursday, including $28 million in guarantees according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The All-Pro tight end had two years and $46 million remaining on his original deal, which was signed back in January of 2016. The Chiefs have spent big to keep their explosive core together this offseason as they doled out a 10-year extension to quarterback Patrick Mahomes that could be worth around $500 million. Kelce led all tight ends in 2019 with 97 catches and 1,229 receiving yards. He should be the second tight end off the board in fantasy drafts after San Francisco's George Kittle.

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Justin Jefferson Aug 13 3:10pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is already expected to play a pivotal role in the offense in 2020. The first-round draft pick may not have the blow-away speed of departed receiver Stefon Diggs, but is a versatile route-runner who can play outside or in the slot. The Vikings have been decimated on the defensive side of the football this past offseason, putting more of an onus on the offense to step up. The absence of preseason games creates a challenge for fantasy owners to properly scout rookies before drafts. But Jefferson figures to have a role early on, making him an intriguing late-round fantasy option.

From RotoBaller

Anthony Miller Aug 13 3:00pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller enters training camp trying to put 2019 behind him after disappointing last season. The third-year receiver caught seven touchdowns during his rookie season in 2018 and Miller's future looked very bright. But Miller endured a sloppy training camp and struggled to see the field the first month of the season. He did rebound and finished the season with 52 receptions for 656 yards but caught only two touchdowns. Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey has made a litany of comments in the offseason about Miller's preparation but has praised, thus far, what he has seen. He's trying to learn. He's dropped the ego of this whole Memphis thing. Now he's coming here and learning from Allen Robinson, asking Allen Robinson, watching Allen Robinson," Furrey told reporters. "If you're starting to do that stuff, you're definitely heading in the right direction and starting to grow individually.'' Miller will be the definition of boom-or-bust heading into fantasy drafts.

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Mitch Trubisky Aug 13 2:50pm ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw to receivers on Wednesday but the real competition for the starting job begins on Friday when full-padded practices begin. Head coach Matt Nagy has intimated that the decision could come sooner than later with the condensed training camp schedule hindering the team's ability to get a full picture. To this point, Trubisky has said all the right things and has been praised for his preparation in zoom meetings. Even if he wins the job out of camp, Trubisky's leash will be extremely short with backup Nick Foles breathing down his neck heading into the team's Week 1 battle against the Lions.

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Nick Foles Aug 13 2:40pm ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles has already been praised by head coach Matt Nagy for "improving the quarterback room" as the team prepares for full-padded practice starting next week. Foles was acquired from the Jaguars in the offseason to not only compete with incumbent starter Mitch Trubisky, but perhaps snatch the starter's job from him. Foles had a disastrous season in 2019, breaking his collarbone in Week 1 and then underperformed when he returned to action in Week 11. The veteran has a history of poor quarterback play when given the keys to an offense right out of the gate but also has shown to be one of the greatest off-the-bench passer's in recent history. If Foles wins the starting job in Chicago, he still lacks any kind of fantasy appeal outside of two quarterback leagues.

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Daniel Jones Aug 13 12:42pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will look to take a step forward in his second NFL season, and will be doing so with a new offensive coordinator in former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. In his first public comments since being hired in January, Garrett raved about the sophomore-signal caller's work ethic and the work Jones put in to learn the offense without the two being able to meet face-to-face due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jones showed huge upside last season with five-300 yard passing games and three games with four-plus touchdowns. His main issue was turnovers as he threw 12 picks and fumbled a league-leading 18 times. Garrett had great success with Dak Prescott, so expect him to help Jones improve in year two making him a good QB to target if waiting on the position in drafts.

George Kittle Aug 13 11:33am ET

San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle agreed to a five-year, $75 million extension Thursday, Aug. 13, that includes an $18 million signing bonus. The contract language is still being worked out.

Fantasy Spin: Kittle is an elite tight end that should be among the top two or three taken universally in fantasy.

From TheHuddle

George Kittle Aug 13 11:30am ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle signed a five-year $75 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. The $15 million per season average makes Kittle the highest-paid tight end in the league by a wide margin over Hunter Henry's $10.6 million franchise-tag deal. Kittle caught 85-plus passes and gained 1,000-plus yards each of the past two seasons in becoming arguably the best tight end in football. The 26-year-old was named a First-Team All-Pro last season and now will be locked-into Kyle Shanahan's offense in San Francisco that was fourth in the NFL in total offense last year. Kittle should be one of the top-two tight ends drafted in fantasy within the top-25 picks.

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P.J. Hall Aug 13 10:53am ET

Free-agent DT P.J. Hall (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Houston Texans Thursday, Aug. 13.

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Everson Griffen Aug 13 9:43am ET

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys DE Everson Griffen agreed to a one-year deal with a $3 million base salary and includes $3 million in potential roster bonuses.

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Ezekiel Ansah Aug 12 11:23pm ET

Free-agent DL Ziggy Ansah (Seahawks) was offered a one-year, $910,000 minimum salary by the San Francisco 49ers, but it wasn't enough for Ansah to sign.

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