3. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Size: 5-10, 180
The Good: Ultra-quick, ultra-fast, ultra-uncoverable, he’s a 4.3 runner with elite cut-on-a-dime route-running ability and breakaways speed.
He’s as fluid as they come with his athleticism, but when he makes a move to get into the open, or if he sees a hole to burst through, there’s a suddenness that’s at a whole other level of anyone outside of the elite NFL speedsters.
Not just a one-trick home-run hitter, he’ll make plays across the middle and could be a volume-catcher depending on how he’s used. Put him in the slot and get him the ball on the move, use him as a punt returner, or shoot him down the sidelines and dare any corner to keep up.
The Not-So-Good: How physical can he be?
The ankle injury that knocked him out for most of last season was a fluke, but he’s not all that big and he’s not built to take a whole lot of punishment. He’s a willing hitter for the ground game, but he’s not moving anyone in the NFL.
It’s not really a weakness, but he hasn’t had to be the main man. For where he’ll be taken, he’ll be expected to be a No. 1 receiver who changes up an offense, but he was Ringo in the jaw-dropping Bama receiving corps for two years. However …
NFL Draft College Perspective Thought: It’s no knock on DeVonta Smith, but he doesn’t win the Heisman if Waddle doesn’t get hurt. Put it this way – in his first two seasons at Bama, Waddle pushed his way into a big role in a receiving corps with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Smith and finished second on the team in receiving yards – that team had Irv Smith, too – as a freshman.
Think a slightly smaller, more diverse Will Fuller – he’ll be a difference-maker from Day One.
Projected Round: First