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Broncos get Lock some help with Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

By ARNIE STAPLETON

AP Pro Football Writer

Jerry Jeudy found a way to celebrate with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell even though the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled the league’s plans to hold the draft in Las Vegas.

The former Alabama standout receiver was selected 15th overall by the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. He and Goodell marked the occasion with a TikTok.

Filming from their respective homes,

on the social media app in one of the lighter moments on a night the league kicked off a simultaneous Draft-A-Thon to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts.

Jeudy gave the virtual celebration a thumbs-up.

“I feel I did a little bit better than him," Jeudy cracked. "Don’t tell him I told you that, but we did pretty good.”

John Elway is eager to see many more slick moves from Jeudy after finally picking a player from Alabama in his 10th draft for the Broncos.

Elway backed up his talk about building around second-year QB Drew Lock by selecting the Crimson Tide wide receiver three spots after the Las Vegas Raiders selected his teammate Henry Ruggs III.

In Jeudy's eyes, he's the cream of the crop among the deep class of wide receivers that featured six first-rounders.

“I feel I’m the best receiver because I got the ability to separate,” said Jeudy, who added he is ready to play in the slot or outside for the Broncos opposite third-year star Courtland Sutton.

I’m a receiver," he said, "I know how to get open.”

Jeudy said at the NFL scouting combine that his route running was ready for the NFL thanks to working with Steve Sarkisian at Alabama. What he needed to do, he said, was get stronger.

He said Thursday night that he’s done just that during the shelter-in-place orders by lifting weights and “working real hard on my craft.”

Coach Vic Fangio said he looked at the deep wide receiver class from a defensive standpoint.

“And I think it’s a good lens to watch through when you’re evaluating a receiver,” Fangio said, “because there’s a lot of receivers out there but only about a third of them are so scary that you have to give them special attention.”

Earlier this week, Elway said it was just happenstance that he hadn’t selected an Alabama player. He praised Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and said previous drafts simply didn’t fall right for him to select an Alabama alum.

This time, the 'Bama star was their top target.

Another new landscape for Elway: for the first time in four years he didn’t spend his offseason analyzing college quarterbacks after going all-in on Lock, who won four of his five starts to end the 2019 season, his only loss coming in the snow at Kansas City.

“Now is the fun part of trying to fill around him,” said Elway, who began that task with the free agent signings of O-lineman Graham Glasgow, running back Melvin Gordon, tight end Nick Vannett and backup QB Jeff Driskel.

Elway was able to grab his top target Thursday without having to trade up, which he was prepared to do if there was a run on receivers.

“It's a big weight off my shoulders, off our shoulders,” Elway said. "That was a position of need for us. Not only did we need that position, we needed that to make Courtland better, too, because as we saw at the end of last year (defenses) were trying to take Courtland out of the game. We know what a great football player he is.

“It's nice being able to go to bed tonight knowing we got the receiver that we coveted and then we've got a big day tomorrow. We've got four picks tomorrow, so we're looking forward to that.”

Half of Elway's 10 picks are in the top-100 and O-line is his other area of dire need.

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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Updated April 24, 2020

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