Last season, Jaylen Waddle had a limited role in the Crimson Tide offense as Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, both of whom were drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. This year, with the depth chart opened up ahead of him, Waddle has 13 receptions for 276 yards and three touchdowns. To take things a step further, Waddle has been compared to Ruggs in terms of speed, which has shown on game film. Despite the Alabama Crimson Tide having only played two games this season, Jaylen Waddle has already shown that he’s capable of being a top wide receiver in this 2021 NFL Draft class.
Where Could Jaylen Waddle Be Drafted In The 2021 NFL Draft?
With only two games in the books for the 2020 College Football season, there’s still plenty of time for things to change. With that being said, it’s clear that Waddle has the abilities and skillset to be a first round draft pick. However, it certainly depends on the teams that are drafting and their needs on offense. Despite this, I would still put Waddle within the top-fifteen range.
Ja’Marr Chase, the wide receiver from LSU, opted out of play before the 2020 College Football season began. With most of the talent on that Tigers team now in the NFL, it made sense for Chase to withdraw. However, he can now only control what he does at the NFL Combine, as well as his Pro Day at LSU.
Rondale Moore and Rashod Bateman both opted out of the 2020 season when the Big Ten conference postponed their season. However, with the conference announcing a later return, both receivers have opted back in. Both of these two 2021 NFL Draft prospects could also come off the board in the first round.
Even so, Jaylen Waddle’s biggest competition in the 2021 NFL Draft class might been his own team. Similar to the Ruggs/Jeudy situation from last season, DeVonta Smith has been solid for the Crimson Tide. If he’s able to put together similar numbers this season, Smith could be a first round pick, too.
Which Teams Could Target Jaylen Waddle?
The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor with their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite this, I still believe that they could circle back to do the same in 2021. Detroit would be a dark horse to select Waddle, but I certainly think they could use him.
Essentially, any NFL franchise looking to extend the field could use a prospect like Jaylen Waddle. As we get closer to the 2021 NFL Draft, that window will become much clearer. Even so, it still remains wide open.