New York Giants predicted to select Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle in mock draft

New York Giants, Jaylen Waddle
Oct 24, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) pushes away Tennessee defensive back Kenney Solomon (31) during a game between Alabama and Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Caitie McMekin-USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2021 NFL Draft is a few short months away. But as this offseason begins to ramp up in intensity, the New York Giants will begin looking for ways to improve their offense. Uprgading the offense, more specifically, upgrading the offensive playmakers, is a major point of emphasis for the Giants this offseason. Co-owner John Mara and general manager Dave Gettleman vowed to improve the offense this offseason.

Giants fans have quickly turned their attention to the 2021 NFL Draft and free agency periods. Both free agency and the draft will feature rich wide receiver classes filled with talent for the Giants to acquire. At the top of the NFL Draft, there are a few intriguing options for the Giants at wide receiver.

Ja’Marr Chase and Devonta Smith are two exciting wide receiver options that might not make it to pick number eleven in April. So many Giants fans and analysts have turned their attention towards the draft’s consensus third-best wide receiver, Jaylen Waddle.

Jaylen Waddle is the less talked about wide receiver out of Alabama in this year’s draft class. Devonta Smith, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, has gotten most of the media attention. There is a good chance, though, that Smith is selected inside the top ten picks of the 2021 NFL Draft. Same goes for the electric Ja’Marr Chase out of LSU. This leaves Jaylen Waddle as the likely next-best option for the Giants in round one.

Jaylen Waddle stats and highlights

Jaylen Waddle has been mocked to the New York Giants in countless mock drafts recently. It seems like a perfect situation where elite talent meets extreme need. The assumption is that the Giants will draft the best receiver on the board in April. This is contingent on what happens in free agency, though.

If the Giants are able to sign a big-name wide receiver in free agency, they could go another direction in the draft. But one of the Giants’ biggest current needs is at wide receiver, so Jaylen Waddle at eleven overall makes sense.

Jaylen Waddle has game-changing speed combined with crafty route running and impressive receiving skills. It is entirely possible that Waddle runs a sub-4.3s forty-yard dash at his 2021 Pro Day. Waddle’s speed makes him a killer deep threat and also makes him highly efficient on shallow or deep crossers. Waddle is able to create plenty of separation through solid route running combined with his elite speed.

Waddle averaged 11.2 yards after the catch per reception over the past two years at Alabama, per PFF. He also averaged a shocking 21.1 yards per reception in 2020. Jaylen posted 28 receptions, 591 yards, and 4 touchdowns in only six games this year at Alabama. Waddle dealt with an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for most of the year, but showed great heart and competitive nature by recovering from that injury and returning for the National Championship Game in 2021.

Throughout the course of Jaylen Waddle’s collegiate career, he played alongside extremely talented offensive teammates. Alabama has been producing first-round wide receiver talents for years, along with NFL quarterbacks and superior offensive linemen. Despite playing in this loaded offense, Jaylen still put up impressive numbers, totaling 1999 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns since 2018, averaging 18.9 yards per receptions over the course of his collegiate career.

Jaylen Waddle is the definition of a playmaker. He is a reliable receiver with the ability to create huge game-changing plays. If the Giants draft Waddle, they will have the choice of moving him inside to slot receiver or playing him off the line of scrimmage in the outside “Z” receiver position. Either way, Waddle dominated at both of those positions in college. If Jaylen Waddle is on the board for the Giants with the eleventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it will be hard for them to pass upon his elite speed and talent.