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Jaylen Waddle Could Be This Year's Henry Ruggs at NFL Draft

Devon Platana
CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama
CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is one of the more talented pass-catchers in the 2021 NFL Draft. Many experts and mock drafts project him going somewhere in the first round, being either the third or fourth wide receiver off the board.

In a way, it's similar to what happened with Las Vegas Raiders WR Henry Ruggs. Also projected to be the third or fourth player at his position selected, Ruggs wound up being the first receiver drafted in 2020 when the Raiders used the No. 12 pick on him. He went on to record 452 yards and 2 touchdowns for Las Vegas last season.

With the similarities being there, it's possible that the Crimson Tide receiver could "pull a Ruggs" and get drafted higher than expected. ESPN NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler said on Twitter that multiple league evaluators see Waddle as the best playmaker in the draft and could surprise people with when he's drafted.

According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Waddle has +1000 odds to be the first wide receiver drafted at the end of the month.

Over his three-season college career, Jaylen Waddle played in 34 games for the Crimson Tide. When all was said and done, he finished with 106 receptions for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was also on multiple All-SEC teams and helped Alabama win the 2020 National Championship.

So, could Waddle end up being the first wide receiver taken this draft? He has tough competition in players like Ja'Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith, who are both talented in their own right. However, there are also some WR-needy teams drafting early on in the draft. Organizations like the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 12), Miami Dolphins (No. 6 & 18), Detroit Lions (No. 7) and Indianapolis Colts (No, 21) could also use a pass-catcher of Waddle's capabilities.

Whether or not Waddle recreates history by being the first receiver off the board like Ruggs remains to be seen. However, he has the potential to make it happen and any team that selects him could have a star in the making.


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