Jaylen Waddle
Jaylen Waddle is a perfect fit for the Miami Dolphins’ offense and Tua Tagovailoa. (John Reed/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2021 NFL Draft was an exciting one. Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase went off the board in consecutive picks before the Dolphins were on the clock. With a young quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins knew they needed to give him a weapon. Picking his former Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle was a no-brainer. The speedster excelled when playing with Tua, and will do the same in Miami. Fans are rightfully excited about the connection with Tua that Waddle brings.

“Chemistry is there for sure. I’m coming to work. I’m sure he is too.”

-Jaylen Waddle, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.

In 2019, his last season with Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle was a playmaker in limited snaps. Working behind Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, Waddle didn’t have the most opportunities but was great when he was given the chance. He ended the season with just 40 targets but made the most of them. Catching 33 of those 40 was solid enough, but he also averaged 17 yards per reception and totaled 6 touchdowns. If Tua wasn’t targeting him deep, it was underneath out of the slot, letting Waddle do the rest. He didn’t run at the Alabama pro day but would’ve likely run a sub 4.3 time.

The speedster constantly draws comparisons to former teammate Henry Ruggs, however, his game is flat-out better. Waddle does possess similar deep speed, but his route-running separates him from other 4.3 guys. Waddle’s short-area quickness and change of direction allows him to separate with ease. That trait alone is just what Tagovailoa needs in the Miami offense.

DeVante Parker is a solid big-bodied X receiver. At 6-foot-3 216-pounds Parker can outmuscle defenders but struggles to get open. Opposite of Parker is where the recently signed Will Fuller will operate. Fuller is also a speed guy. In Houston last season he was 6th best in the league in yards per reception at 16.6. Using his 4.3 speed he excels at taking the top off the defense, opening up the underneath for his teammates.

Now here is where Waddle comes into the equation. With the top corner preoccupied with Parker and the safeties focused on Fuller’s speed, Waddle will excel out of the slot. With his elite separation, he can get open underneath and use his skillset to rack up yards after the catch. In 2020, Waddle had the 6th most yards after the catch per reception in all of college football. Waddle is electric with the ball in his hands and will be given ample opportunities next season in Miami.

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