Alabama football released its Week 1 depth chart Monday, ahead of Saturday’s season opener against Duke. While we know what we’re getting with the Crimson Tide for the most part, there was one interesting tidbit at the wide receiver-H position, with Jaylen Waddle.
It is hard to argue that Waddle was under the radar last season. The explosive freshman caught 45 passes for 848 yards and seven touchdowns, good for an impressive 18.8 yards per catch.
It is fair to say he was a bit overshadowed at the position. Jerry Jeudy was a consensus first team All-American and the winner of the Biletnikoff Award.
He caught 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns, and is a likely first round pick next spring.
Aside from Tua Tagovailoa, Jeudy was about as much of a lock to start as anyone on Alabama’s roster. And yet, he’s not alone at the spot. Waddle is listed on the top line along with him.
Seeing Biletnikoff winner Jerry Jeudy listed as a co-starter with Jaylen Waddle at WR, I’m reminded what several told me during both trips to @AlabamaFTBL this preseason: Waddle may be the one to take off under Steve Sarkisian. Nick Saban told me all 4 WRs would play in the NFL.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) August 26, 2019
As Chris Low says, this is more about Jaylen Waddle than anything. Jeudy is a rare talent and should always be on the field, but it sounds like Alabama can’t really afford to keep Waddle off.
None of this has factored in Alabama’s other two very impressive receivers, who both return as well.
Henry Ruggs, the starter at the WR-Z, caught 46 balls for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns. DeVonta Smith, the WR-X, went for 42/693/6 in 2018.
The team loses a pair of dynamic running backs and big-play tight end Irv Smith Jr., but the 2019 Alabama offense may actually take a step forward from the incredibly explosive 2018 team.