Jaylen Waddle is the definition of lightning in a bottle. You never quite see receivers this fast and above that, he is more than just a one trick pony. Waddle is a complete receiver who’s best football is ahead of him. Unfortunately, Waddle’s 2020 season was derailed due to a broken ankle, but through his first four games of the season, he was on pace to have more yards, yards per catch, and yards per game than DeVonta Smith. He’s got field tilting speed, he’s a crafty route runner, and he’s got some pretty secure hands. So just how good is DeVonta Smith?
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 182 lbs
2018 Stats: 15 games played/ 45 receptions/ 848 receiving yards/ 7 receiving touchdowns/ 18.8 yards per catch
2019 Stats: 13 games played/ 33 receptions/ 560 receiving yards/ 6 receiving touchdowns/ 17.0 yards per catch
2020 Stats: 5 games played/ 28 receptions/ 591 receiving yards/ 4 receiving touchdowns/ 21.1 yards per catch
1.Obviously the first thing that pops out on tape is Waddle’s speed. Henry Ruggs III might be the only other college player I’ve seen in recent memory that just blows by secondaries and is a threat to the score on every single play. He is one of the most exciting players to watch in college football and his speed is a big reason why. The small gaps he shoots through for an extra thirty yards are unbelievable and as a defender you practically need to be on top of Waddle to get a hand on him.
2.Jaylen Waddle is a sneaky good route runner. Traditionally, speed receivers have trouble digging in at the top of their routes because they’re moving that fast. Waddle uses his weight to sink his hips out of his breaks and has some crafty footwork even when moving at 20+ mph.
3.Despite having a 5’10” frame, Waddle has made some truly impressive catches in traffic. He’s got some really flexible hips and has a unique ability to contort his frame to wrap around and snag an under-thrown ball. He is a consistent winner with jump balls and is above average at high pointing the football. He plays much bigger than he is.
1.Waddle is still just 5’10” whether he plays like it or not. Big physical corners will have their way with him off the line so Waddle should definitely add some muscle to help him at the LOS. His speed is often enough to beat press man but if a corner gets his hands on him, he is derailed and is effectively out of the play. If he can bulk up a bit, he will have more success at the next level against the physical corners in the NFL.
Overall, Waddle is a pretty dang complete receiver. He can be physical and move the sticks when needed, and he can take the top off the defense when asked to. He has played in the slot and outside and Steve Sarkisian’s system has prepared him to be a day one NFL starter. He is an offensive coordinator’s dream.