Jaylen Waddle was supposed to be the second coming of Tyreek Hill but the Miami Dolphins have made him the second coming of Jarvis Landry.
Waddle was drafted sixth overall in 2021 out of Alabama, this was after the Fins traded down from the third overall pick to the 12th with San Francisco. The Dolphins also received a third-round pick in 2021 and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 from them.
Now, what happened after the 49ers trade is a hard pill to swallow. Miami traded up from the 12th pick to the sixth pick with the Eagles. In doing so the Dolphins gave up a fourth-round pick along with their first-round pick in 2022 (that is currently sitting at third overall).
Waddle has been a fine player for Miami, but that’s all he has been fine. Ja’Marr Chase, that went one pick ahead of him is proving his mettle with an incredible season. Understandably, many considered Chase the best-receiving prospect in 2021.
But what is not understandable is why this organization decided to trade down and give up draft assets to use a player of Waddle’s talents so conservatively. Waddle does lead all rookies in receptions with 56, he ranks fourth in yardage behind Chase, Kyle Pitts (4th overall), and Devonta Smith (10th overall).
Instead of a player with Olympic-level track speed blowing the top off of defenses, the Dolphins drafted Jarvis Landry 2.0. Landry is arguably the best receiver Miami has had in the past 10 years. He went to three consecutive Pro Bowls while a member of the Fins, and caught 110 passes twice in four years.
In Landry’s rookie season he had 84 receptions for 758 yards with five touchdowns. Waddle is currently on pace for slightly better numbers.
Landry averaged 5.3 catches a game in his rookie campaign, Waddle is averaging 6.2. Landry averaged 9 yards a reception, Waddle is at 8.9. Landry had 47.4 yards a game, Waddle is currently averaging 55.1.
Waddle is not having a bad rookie season and neither did Landry. The difference is what was given up to draft Waddle and the placement in the draft he was chosen in. Landry was drafted 63rd overall, the second-last pick in the second-round.
Landry was not schemed to be a major part of the offense when he was drafted. Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline were staples who played in every game. Waddle has been forced to carry a bulk of the work thus far with Mack Hollins being the only other wide receiver to have played in all nine games this season.
The Dolphins coaching staff should look to be more creative with Waddle instead of the dink-and-dunk style they have him playing. He was highly touted due to his speed let him show it on the field or we may find a home in a couple of years that does utilize his talents.