Jaylen Waddle 2021 NFL Draft Overview
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 182 pounds
School: Alabama Crimson Tide
Jaylen Waddle Draft Profile
Alabama has produced many talented wide receivers in recent memory, including Julio Jones, Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper. Jaylen Waddle is primed to be the next great wideout to come from the Crimson Tide. Waddle is the definition of a game-changing wide receiver.
Waddle was a four-star recruit from Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas. His best statistical season in college came during his freshman year, where he recorded 45 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. After his pretty impressive freshman campaign, Waddle was named an SEC All-American freshman in 2018.
In 2019, Waddle’s numbers decreased from the year before, but he was still impactful in terms of helping Alabama’s offense flourish. He finished his sophomore season with 33 receptions for 560 yards and six touchdowns. However, his sophomore year is when Waddle’s return abilities really started to blossom. He fielded 20 punt returns for 487 yards and a touchdown while averaging 24.4 yards per return. In terms of kick returns, he had just five opportunities but managed to record 175 yards and a touchdown while averaging 35 yards per return. He was named a first team All-American in 2019 as well.
The 2020 season was supposed to be the year that Waddle took the next step and put up insane numbers. Unfortunately, his junior season was reduced to just six games after he suffered a broken ankle in late October. The impressive part of this is that he recorded 28 receptions for 591 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 21.1 yards per catch. Despite sustaining an injury and missing significant time, he still managed to surpass his 2019 receiving yards and yards per catch but with fewer receptions. Waddle managed to fight his way back and was able to play in the National Championship game, but he saw limited snaps.
In three seasons with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Waddle has managed to catch 106 passes for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 18.9 yards per catch. The last stat tells a lot about who Waddle is as a player: he is a certified playmaker. He can score from basically anywhere on the field and has that homerun ability which allows an offense to go deep. One word to describe him is explosive. Waddle’s ability to change directions quickly makes him tough for opponents to catch in open space.
- Uses speed to advantage
- Ability to change direction quickly
- Good route running
- Solid when it comes to contested catches
- Creates separation
- Injuries (ankle)
- Does not have ideal size
NFL Comparison: Tyreek Hill
Projection: First round (probably in the top half)
Last Word on Jaylen Waddle
It’s easy to compare Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle’s speed, but their ability to play vertical and go up to catch passes over defenders are also quite similar. Waddle should become one of the NFL’s fastest receivers once drafted, and will immediately help whichever offense he lands with. His explosive, playmaking ability and overall athleticism will make whatever team that takes a chance on him very happy.