2020 - Fractured right ankle
Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri
The first word that comes to mind with Waddle is speed. He is truly elite in that aspect with the ability to simply run by defenders. This helps him to create separation as a true deep threat to take the top off a defense. Is electric in the open field as he uses his speed and elusiveness to be a threat to take screens and short passes to the end zone at any given moment. His ability as a true playmaker will help his draft stock tremendously as he isn't just an electric receiver but will be utilized as an elite returner on special teams and as a ball carrier on special teams.
His small frame can hurt him in many different aspects. The main way it will hurt him is as a blocker as it is easier for bigger defenders to shed him quickly. It could also keep him in the slot depending on what type of system he is in or what kind of defense they are facing. While he isn't a bad route runner by any means, I'd also like to see him show that he can slow down and truly break down defenders instead of just running by them. While these things are important, his biggest concern will be with his injury. Although he was able to play some snaps in the National Championship game ,it will be interesting to see how he bounces back from the injury in full participation.
Waddle is yet another elite wide receiver prospect to come out of the University of Alabama. Was a key contributor as both a receiver and a kickoff returner in all three seasons with the Crimson Tide. Had his best statistical season as a true freshman, catching 45 passes for 848 yards and seven touchdowns, earning him SEC Freshman of the Year honors. He followed that up with an outstanding sophomore season in which he earned All-American and All-SEC honors from many publications. Waddle had high hopes coming into the 2020 season and was off to a hot start. Through his first five games of his junior year, Waddle caught 25 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns before unfortunately suffering an ankle injury which ended his season. Fortunately, he was able to return in limited fashion for the National Championship Game. Waddle was also one of the most electric returners in college football, with 947 total return yards and three touchdowns over three seasons. At the next level, Waddle will project as mainly a slot receiver but can be used on the outside in certain formations. He will thrive in an offense that will use him on screens and short passes while unloading him on fade routes as well. Wherever he gets drafted, I see him also immediately being the primary returner on special teams. Waddle will likely be one of the top three receivers taken in this draft, projecting to the top half of the first round. If he can stay healthy, Waddle should be due for a very long and succesful NFL career.
One of the better athletes in this receiver class. Shows a great ability to change direction smoothly and quickly. His quickness allows him to make cuts in the open field to make defenders miss after the catch or simply throw off their tackle angles. Has a tremendous amount of burst, showing that he can hit the second gear at any given moment to run away from defenders. His deep speed is truly elite as he simply runs by defenders on fade/go routes. As far as play strength is concerned, he isn't incredibly weak but his lack of size and true strength puts him at a disadvantage against bigger defenders.
Big Play Ability
Shows a good amount of urgency off the ball, explodes off the line of scrimmage to showcase his elite burst and speed. Has very good foot quickness both in his release and in his route breaks. Ran a good variety of routes in college with screens, short, intermediate, and deep routes. His speed alone helps him create separation in man coverage but he also has the foot quickness to lose defenders as well. Is a smooth route runner but could show that he can slow down to make breaks and time his routes on a more consistent basis at the next level against faster and more technically sound defenders.
Didn't see many drops on film as he does a good job of looking the ball in but he does let the ball come into his body or waits on it to fall into his arms at times. Has shown that he has a solid catch radius with the ability to go up and get the ball. Does a good job of catching the ball at it's highest point on highly thrown passes. Had some tremendous contested catches in college where he used his athletic ability and reliable hands to win over one or multiple defenders.
Is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. His elite speed makes it very difficult for defenders to run him down in the open field. especially if given room to get upfield quickly or around the corner. Also has the vision and elusiveness to create space for himself in tight situations. However, due mainly to his lack of size, he isn't going to run through tackles and isn't incredibly difficult to bring down if you can get him wrapped up. As a blocker, he doesn't shy away from contact but is overpowered by bigger defenders and struggles with staying on blocks at times.
Shows tremendous instincts in the open field as a ball carrier. Has the vision to see open running lanes and judge tackling angles to make moves in open space. Has a solid understanding of coverage recognition but could still work on not having to always rely on his speed to find openings in coverages. Saw time both in the slot and on the outside in college but may be best suited in the slot as a receiver. However, his ability as a returner on special teams and ball carrier on jet sweeps will keep his versatility high.