Associated Press

PRO 2021 Rookie Spotlight: Jaylen Waddle, WR Alabama

Rookie Spotlight: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Height: 5’ 10” (unofficial)
Weight: 185 lbs (unofficial)
Hands:
Arm:
40 yard dash: 4.37 (unofficial)
NFL Comparison: Tyreek Hill, Brandin Cooks

Pros
– fast and explosive
– smooth runner
– high points the ball
– elusive in the open field
– extremely versatile, plays all levels of the field
– premier kick returner
– quick release, separates with ease
– flourished against top-ranked competition
– flourished despite excellent target competition

Cons
– lacks polish as a route-runner and in footwork
– somewhat undersized
– could lose some speed to an ankle injury that occured in October

Scouting Notes: A human joystick, Waddle is always only a play away from breaking open a game with his constant explosiveness and elite run-after-the catch ability. From the top of his routes, Waddle is electric. His quick first step almost ensures he sees little press, and he gets up to top speed quickly so if he isn’t slowed down at the line, he simply won’t get caught soon thereafter. You can say this about very few players, and Waddle is … if nothing else … a rare specimen. For a smaller receiver, Waddle has a wide catch radius, as he’s extremely athletic and often high-points the ball. He doesn’t get a ton of contested catches because he gets separation so easily and is constantly moving. Waddle didn’t achieve earth shattering numbers at Alabama, as he was more of a utility player behind Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Devonta Smith, but even with a small sample size his talent is readily apparent. As a freshman in 2018, Waddle averaged 19 YPC, 848 yards and had 7 TDs on just 45 receptions. In his last year as a junior, Waddle averaged almost 22 YPC, 591 yards and had 4 TDs before going down to a gruesome ankle injury. He was on pace for an absolute monster season in 2020 that likely would have cannibalized much of Devonta Smith’s Heisman-winning production. There are questions as to whether he’ll retain his breathtaking speed after such an injury, but youth and a relative lack of wear are on his side. Waddle also has versatility going for him, as he can dominate out of the slot, out wide, or even out of the backfield as a runner – He’s also one of the most dynamic kick-returners in the nation, which should get him action sooner at the next level. What may be most impressive about Waddle is that he did all of his damage basically as a specialist against the top competition in the NCAA. Everyone who has seen the guy play is eager to see what he can do as a full-time player in the NFL.

Fantasy Outlook: As prodigious a talent as Waddle is, he lacks some polish as a route-runner, and he’ll need to learn how to block before he can become a “traditional No.1 receiver” on any NFL team. But yes, his ceiling is immeasurable and he could transition to a top-tier fantasy contributor in a short span of time, given the right coaching. Some players of his ilk get lost in the shuffle in the NFL, never quite reaching their potential as every-down players, a la Cordarrelle Patterson, but then players like Tyreek Hill – who Waddle is often compared to to, manage to find their way as a premier receiving options on hi-octane offenses. At this point it’s too early to tell how Waddle will end up, but with his limitless potential it’s prudent to take a chance on him early and often in dynasty drafts and otherwise. In both 1QB and Superflex dynasty leagues, he’s a lock to be off the board by the end of the first round pre-NFL draft, so if you’re interested in Waddle and you’re picking in the second-half of a rookie draft order, you’ll need to snatch him with your first pick to assure you get him on your team.

2 Comments

  1. Post By The Frugal Degenerate

    Looking for some trade feedback in a FFPC league:

    League format is SF TE 1.5 Best Ball league?

    J.K. Dobbins

    For

    Melvin Gordon /Pick 1.11 & 1.12 /2022 2nd Round

    I already have 1.03/1.08 prior to the trade. I Plan to draft either Harris or ETN to replace the production from Dobbins (unless Fields falls). I’m hoping Gordon is a bridge until the rookie comes to speed. With that trade I now have 3 2022 2nds.

    1. I think that trade is fine. HAte to lose JKD but that is quite a haul.

Leave a Reply