Jaylen Waddle Draft Profile
Alabama WR, Jaylen Waddle is capable of domination. That is what I love about him. He can get so into the zone to a point where no human being can stop him. He played like that for the entire 2020 season leading up to his injury. Waddle broke his ankle on the opening kick off in the fifth game of the season against Tennessee, but despite the severity of his injury Waddle was able to come back for the national championship game. While Waddle didn’t get very much action in his final game, it shows his toughness and mentality. You can tell some people just love football, Waddle is one of those guys.
Waddle’s speed is special, he might be one of the fastest players in the entire draft. He is not as fast as his former teammate, Henry Ruggs, but speed is his main way of gaining separation. Waddle does a great job at tracking the football on deep balls and he is an amazing deep threat. In 2020, Waddle just could not be stopped, in the four games that he played healthy in, he had 557 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He’s versatile, in his sophomore season he only played in the slot and as a return man. In his junior season, Nick Saban was using him all over the field. He was a returner, slot receiver, X receiver, and he lined up in the backfield. One of the most underrated parts of his game are the physical catches that he has to make. There were times where Waddle was getting hit by two defenders at once, but he’s still coming down with the ball. Waddle’s toughness is apparent and it shows off on film. Waddle also does a great job gaining yards after the catch. He’s like a running back trying to find open holes where he can’t get touched. His speed allows him to get busy with the ball in his hands.
There aren’t many flaws to Waddle’s game. While he is great after the catch, there is a lack of physicality. You won’t see him be like Deebo Samuel and run through contact, instead he’s going to try to make people miss. Since he was moved around a lot in his final season at Alabama, there weren’t many times where a DB was lined head up with him. I would have liked to see him be more of a technician with his releases, however he was a beast at the top of his routes. It is hard to not like watching Jaylen Waddle play and there aren’t a lot of flaws to his game.
Waddle reminds me of a more raw Antonio Brown. He isn’t quite the route running aficionado yet, but he has the potential to be. Similar to Brown, he can be utilized all over the field. His speed and control gives him the potential to be a freakish receiver off the line, and his ability to turn at the top of his route is fun to watch. Waddle is a top 20 player in this draft, and will be one of the first receivers off the board. Early in his career, I expect him to be used as a return man, in the slot, and a guy who goes in motion. As he polishes his game, he should be a number one receiver for what ever team drafts him by the end of his rookie season. Waddle should be in the end zone a lot next season.
Route Running 8.75/10
Yards After Catch 8.5/10
Contested Grabs 7.5/8
Releases/ Top of Route 6/8
Catch Radius 6.5/8
Final Rating: 88
Pro Comparison: Antonio Brown
Team Fits: Giants, Raiders, Dolphins
Draft Ranking: Top 20 player
Draft Projection: Top 11 pick