Dolphins Draft Fit: Waddle Could Be the Way To Go

The Miami Dolphins offense certainly could use an explosive playmaker like Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle
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So much of the conversation regarding the Miami Dolphins and the sixth overall pick has centered around Kyle Pitts and Ja'Marr Chase, with a little bit of DeVonta Smith and Penei Sewell mixed in.

But there's another name that flat-out should not be ignored: Jaylen Waddle.

In fact, it says here to not be surprised in the least if that's who ends up being Miami's first pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

And if you think this is an isolated position, consider the mock draft released Monday by CBSSports.com writer Ryan Wilson.

Just think about the dominant conversation so far this offseason when it comes to the Dolphins, and that's surrounding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with playmakers. Well, when it comes to playmakers, it might not get any better than Waddle.

Sure, he's regarded as a step behind Pitts and Chase when it comes to overall prospect, but the possibility certainly exists the Dolphins won't get a shot at either of the those players if Atlanta takes Pitts at 4 and Cincinnati follows with Chase at 5.

Waddle would be one heck of a consolation prize.

Just think back to the Dolphins game against the Kansas City Chiefs last December when Tyreek Hill changed the game with a 32-yard touchdown on a jet sweep after Miami led 10-0 and later scored on a way-too-easy 44-yard touchdown reception.

That's the kind of impact Waddle can make. That's who he is.

This is the NFL.com overview of Waddle, as written by draft analyst Lance Zierlein: "Thrilling, game-breaking talent who will come into the league as one of the fastest receivers to ever play the game. His whereabouts pre-snap and post-snap must be accounted for at all times. Despite his size, he's a legitimate outside option, thanks to his ability to not only take the top off the defense, but also go up and win 50-50 throws. Waddle's adept at working all three levels, so it will be tough for defenses to predict how offenses will utilize him, as he has the potential to post a higher catch volume in the right offense. Waddle can instantly upgrade a team's scoring potential, whether it's with the deep ball, the catch-and-run or as a return man."

RELATED: Watch Out for Waddle

Waddle averaged a ridiculous 44 yards per touchdown during his time at Alabama as the biggest playmaker on an offense that featured 2020 first-round picks Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy and 2020 Heisman winner and pending 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith.

This  is not to say that Waddle was a better college player than any of them, but that he might be destined to make the biggest impact quickly in the NFL.

At the very least, you're looking at somebody who can make an impact on punt returns immediately and then be used all kinds of ways on offense.

"Well, what separates Jaylen Waddle from a bunch of other good slot-type receivers in this year's draft is he's not just quick — he's quick and fast," Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy recently said on ESPN, per 247Sports.com. "You go back to last year's draft — his own teammate, Henry Ruggs, was the fastest receiver in last year's draft. There's a video circulating on social media right now with these guys in a photo finish in a 40-yard-dash footrace and I've been on the field and I've timed Henry Ruggs in the 4-2 (range). So if Jaylen Waddle gets anywhere close to the 4.2s, we're talking about a blazing-fast guy.

"And then the other thing that just separates Waddle is the return ability. He's the best college returner I've evaluated since Devin Hester, who is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time), as we all know."

While he's not big by any means, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Waddle doesn't carry the same durability concerns as Smith, who's also not as fast.

That's why many analysts have Waddle rated higher than Smith even though Smith's production at Alabama was better.

As mentioned on this site several times, Pitts would be the top option from this vantage point at number 6 should he be available, and Chase is pretty much a unanimous number 1 when it comes to wide receiver prospects, but there's just something about Waddle that really stands out.

And if you think back to the criticism of the Dolphins offense last season, one thing that stood out was the lack of playmaking ability. Well, Waddle is a playmaker.

So, again, don't be surprised if he's the choice at number 6.