Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
W: 183 lbs
Describing Waddle as fast doesn’t do his speed justice. Not only does he have elite speed, he has tremendous acceleration, he’s quicker than quick, and he’s shifty, twitchy, and agile. All of this makes Waddle a nightmare with the ball in his hands after the catch, especially with some space. He carved many defenses up with simple wide receiver screens. He’s also very creative after the catch, he doesn’t try to just run past everyone. Waddle has great ball carrier vision and he doesn’t go down easily. He gains huge separation on short, quick routes in no time at all. He has very sticky hands and doesn’t have many dropped passes. Waddle is also an excellent punt and kick returner.
Waddle has been semi-buried on the Alabama depth chart just because of the elite talent in front of him. Entering his junior year without Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III, he should have a lot more tape to view. Therefore, it’s hard to find a lot of his weaknesses out of sheer lack of tape. However, Waddle’s biggest weakness is his small route running tree. He mainly runs quick slants, pop screens, and streaks. He needs to develop more routes such as ins, outs, curls, etc. Also, Waddle mainly wins with his speed and quickness, not his pure route running. He needs to work on his feet and the technical side of route running.
Nothing describes Jaylen Waddle like “speed”. He is a blur across the field and his feet work at a ridiculous speed. Of course he reminds me of Henry Ruggs III, but that’s more to do with the top-end speed (and the Alabama jersey) than anything. But he also reminds me of Devin Hester. He is an excellent punt and kick returner with insane speed. He projects as a much better receiver than Hester, so combining Hester and Ruggs should leave NFL scouts salivating. With Waddle looking like the top or second receiver for Alabama this upcoming year, we’ll be able to see a lot more tape on him. But as of now, Waddle’s upside really excites me and we could see him as a top-10 draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, as long as he takes advantage of the extra snap counts and progresses to where he needs to be.