Are the Eagles eyeing 1 Alabama receiver in particular? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
After months of speculation, rumors and misinformation, we’ve finally made it to draft week.
The fun is far from over.
In this week’s MMQB, SI.com’s Albert Breer looked at the needs of all 32 NFL teams and his Eagles’ blurb is worth checking out:
“As usual, GM Howie Roseman’s been active in making trade calls, and word is that a move up might be for a corner. There’s a decent chance that neither Surtain nor Horn will make it here, and there’s a sizable dropoff after those two. And while we’re here, two other things I’d mention: One, with Roseman, you can’t rule out a linemen on either side of the ball, and both of Philly’s groups are getting a little long in the tooth. And two, more than a couple people I talked to connected the Eagles to Bama dynamo Jaylen Waddle.”
OK, so maybe there’s so much there that there’s nothing really there. In that blurb, Breer talked about a corner, an offensive or defensive lineman and a receiver. But the receiver part at the end is perhaps most notable because Breer connects a specific player to the Eagles.
So let’s talk about Jaylen Waddle.
The 5-foot-9, 180 pound receiver from Alabama is about as dynamic as they come. He was off to a tremendous start to his 2020 season before suffering an ankle injury in October and missing the rest of the season. While DeVonta Smith went on to become the Heisman Trophy winner, there are many who consider Waddle to be the better prospect.
In six games in 2020, Waddle had 28 catches for 591 yards (21.1) and 4 touchdowns.
He didn’t work out at the Bama pro day because he’s still healing from that ankle injury but it’s fair to say he would have crushed it. Waddle is the type of athletic specimen who screams explosion. It might be an unfair comparison, but the name that comes up the most is Tyreek Hill. Maybe Waddle doesn’t turn into Hill, but if he can offer similar explosion and play-making ability in the NFL, he can be an absolute game-changer.
Last week on a national conference call, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was given a hypothetical situation where Smith, Waddle and Patrick Surtain were all on the board for the Eagles at No. 12. Jeremiah said he’d take Waddle.
“He's too intriguing to me with what he can do, and in a league where you need explosive plays, he gives those to you,” Jeremiah said. “He's going to take a lot of pressure off the quarterback. He's going to have an influence on the run game, as well.
“Anything that you might have liked about Jalen Reagor, Jaylen Waddle does all those things infinitely better. To me at least you put him out there, you hope Reagor continues to grow and now you've got a track team with those two guys out there because they can both fly. That would be the way I go.”
If the Eagles are thinking of trading up for a top corner, as Breer suggests, then maybe Waddle could be an option at No. 12. If quarterbacks go early, there could be five in the first 11 picks. Then there’s Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase. The corners could go in the top 11, as could a couple of offensive tackles. It’s not crazy to think about Waddle being there for the Eagles at 12.
In fact, according to the latest props from PointsBet, Waddle’s over/under position is 11.5. The under is at -105, the over is at -125. He could end up being the guy.
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