Jaylen Waddle NFL Draft Profile
- 2018 (15 Games): 45 Rec, 848 yards, 7 TDs
- 2019 (13 Games): 33 Rec, 560 yards, 6 TDs
- 2020 (6 Games): 28 Rec, 591 yards, 4 TDs
While Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Devonta Smith have often stolen headlines in Tuscaloosa over the past few years, Jaylen Waddle is not someone that NFL teams should be sleeping on heading into this draft. In fact, Waddle might be the most talented receiver of the aforementioned group.
Players like Tyreek Hill have shown how dangerous true speed can be at theNFL’s wide receiver position, and Waddle can bring a similar threat to any team that picks him up. His speed makes him a serious deep ball threat, but that’s not all. When you combine that speed with elusivity, he becomes a problem after the catch as well, especially on screen plays where he can find blockers.
This has been mentioned in a previous article as well, but he seems to have the same stigma surrounding him that Justin Jefferson had going into the 2020 draft. That stigma is that he can only be a slot receiver, but it is simply not true. While he thrived as a slot receiver for much of his career at Alabama, he showed in 2020 that he can be just as effective on the outside. Not only is he versatile in the offense, but he can be a very dangerous return man for the special teams.
Of course, there are still knocks to Waddle’s game. His size (or lack thereof) is going to be a concern for some as he stands at just 5’10 and a tad over 180 pounds. He may get bullied at the line of scrimmage by physical DBs, and if that happens, it’ll be harder for him to use his speed. As the old saying goes, though, it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog. Waddle has proven time and time again that he has just as much fight as anyone on the field. However, he does need to improve his route running ability to ensure this isn’t an issue.
There is a possibility (dare I say a large possibility) that Waddle will prove to be the best wide receiver in this draft class. His speed is unmatched by anyone, and he brings an “it” factor to the game that is unlike many others at the position. While he is physically on the smaller side, he leaves a massive impact on the field.
Draft Projection: Early-Mid First Round
Best Traits: Breakaway Speed, Recognizing Holes in Coverage, Special Teams Impact
Worst Traits: Size, Crispness in Routes