It looks like the return of Jaylen Waddle is upon us
After breaking his ankle in the fifth game of the season for the Alabama Crimson Tide, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle looks poised to return in the national championship game this upcoming Monday. As the Crimson Tide look to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes, quarterback Mac Jones rejoices as Waddle has returned to practice after recovering from surgery to his ankle.
Through those four games Waddle played start to finish before departing in the first quarter of the Week 5 matchup against Texas A&M, the explosive wide receiver still managed to rack up 557 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 25 catches for the Crimson Tide.
What is draft stock of Jaylen Waddle?
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Despite missing significant action this season, Waddle is still talked about as a top-three wide receiver in this class, in the same conversation with his teammate DeVonta Smith and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. In fact, he is the top wide receiver on this writer’s board as he displays the explosiveness and quick twitch to make plays at every level of the field.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network loves the fun potential in Waddle’s game:
"“Once the ball is in his hands, the fun begins. Waddle is one of the best run-after-catch prospects I’ve ever evaluated. He has rare explosiveness, change-of-direction quickness and instincts. It’s unusual to see the first defender get him on the ground. He consistently turns quick hitters and reverses into big plays.”"
Team fits for Waddle generally include the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions. While he is an underclassman, and has yet to officially declare, there is reason to believe he will be off to the 2021 NFL Draft at the conclusion of the season. As he returns to action, the final matchup against the Buckeyes may serve as Waddle’s encore performance.