Bottom Line: Expect Jeudy to continue on his current performance trajectory. However, given his history of a prior meniscus (shock-absorbing tissue in the knee) tear that was removed surgically, we have a significant amount of concern about his long-term durability and production levels.
The meniscus surgery that Jeudy underwent in 2018 is not by itself known to lead to decreased level of production in NFL players. However, medical evidence (in both NFL players and non-athletes) clearly indicates that it makes him more susceptible to developing an injury to the cartilage that lines and protects the bones in the knee joint. A public letter to NFL teams from Dr. Lyle Cain (Alabama team physician and well-respected sports surgeon) stated that Jeudy’s cartilage currently looks perfect on MRI and his knee is functioning without problem. However, if he develops a cartilage injury down the road (which he is now more likely than his peers to do), data indicates that we should expect a significant decline in his performance level. Todd Gurley and Myles Jack are two examples of such an injury. Notably, there are certain details (such as location and volume of the torn part of meniscus tissue that was removed) that are not publicly shared, and these could increase or decrease the chances and/or rate of experiencing further issues down the line. In either case, his risk is certainly higher than his uninjured peers. In the short-term - and for as long as he can avoid an injury to the knee cartilage - we expect his performance to be almost entirely unaffected. However, in the long-term, he is at increased risk for decline.
NFL Combine participants with a surgery history similar to Jeudy average shorter careers (5.6 vs 7.0 years) and fewer games played (62 vs 85 games) in their careers. Looking specifically at wide receivers, they averaged ~4 fewer games in each of their first two NFL seasons and 56% of the number of plays when compared to their uninjured peers drafted at similar positions. Amongst players already in the NFL who undergo the procedure, speed position players (RBs, WRs, LBs, DBs) are 4 times less likely to return to play than other positions. The amplified impact of the injury in this group may be related to the sharp cutting and change of direction demanded by these positions. In any case, while our short-term concern for Jeudy is minimal, our long-term durability concerns are substantial.
Image Source: Jeramey Jannene, CC BY 2.0