Smith earned most of the headlines in 2020, putting up eye-popping stats and becoming the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in three decades. Waddle, meanwhile, missed significant time after suffering a broken ankle, though he did return for the national title game.
Right now, at least one noted NFL Draft expert is higher on Waddle than Smith. Former NFL scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah has moved Waddle up to the No. 2 receiver slot and No. 6 overall in his new top 50.
On the “Move The Sticks” podcast with Bucky Brooks, Jeremiah explained why he not only thinks Waddle is deserving of being ranked over Smith, but is also the most “impressive” Alabama wide receiver of the last two years.
You might recall that the Crimson Tide put two wideouts–Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy–in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft.
“I ended up moving Jaylen Waddle up to the No. 2 receiver spot … he moves up to No. 6 on my overall board,” Jeremiah said. “I went back and watched all of his 2019 targets together with what we saw this year. This dude, he’s got some freaky stuff to him. He is a really, really talented kid, a special kid. I was comparing him to the guys we had last year from Alabama. I don’t know where you are, but to me, if you put Jeudy and Ruggs and DeVonta Smith and Waddle, I thought Waddle was the most impressive tape of any of the four.”
In six games in 2020, Waddle produced 28 receptions for 591 yards and four touchdowns. He finished his career with 106 catches, 1,999 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns while also scoring three times on kick and punt returns.
No matter how you rank them, both Waddle and Smith are going to hear their name called early on April 29.