It’s early. Preseason games – outside of the Hall of Fame Game – have not even begun to kickoff. However, if you place any stock in training camp reports, Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, hasn’t impressed in the same way that Miami’s electric first round wide receiver, Jaylen Waddle, has.
On Ja'Marr Chase: "... you also see somebody tentatively getting used to a new offense, new league and not playing football since January 2020. ... He has not shown as much separation as you’d hope, and the contested balls haven’t gone his way much, either." https://t.co/WAgFVVzlxt— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) August 9, 2021
After the 2021 NFL Draft concluded, plenty of reports came out about how Miami’s preferred receiver target was Jaylen Waddle, even over consensus #1 wideout, Ja’Marr Chase. Various people scoffed at that notion, believing Miami was offering a bit of lip service in favor of the Alabama product who they were “forced to settle” for.
However, throughout the entire process, I believed that if Miami was targeting a wide receiver early, and Florida tight end, Kyle Pitts, was unavailable, Waddle would be the pick. The key factor in that line of thinking was that the Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver room struggled mightily at creating separation last season. DeVante Parker and Preston Williams were both ranked near the bottom of the league in that category according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats.
Early morning #Dolphins thoughts:— Marek Brave (@MBrave13) April 21, 2021
Kyle Pitts should be the pick at 6 if he's available, but I don't think he will be. Atlanta likely takes him at 4.
Next best playmaker for Miami? I say Waddle. He's FAST and electric w/ the ball in his hands. Excels at nearly every route.
Tua Tagovailoa thrives when his receivers create separation, something that was evident to anyone who studied his Alabama tape. Miami added Will Fuller in free agency this offseason, and then went out and added not just another receiver who can create consistent separation, they added one of the very wide receivers who did just that for Tua during his time at Alabama.
Contrary to the subpar Chase reports, Waddle has been performing spectacularly during his first training camp.
Waddle continues to flourish on screens from Tua, as expected. Will be fun tracking YAC for Waddle, Wilson off screens this season— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) August 3, 2021
Jaylen Waddle made a leaping/diving catch over the middle from Tua Tagovailoa.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) August 7, 2021
Jaylen Waddle showing off his speed and elusiveness.— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) August 4, 2021
If Waddle stays healthy and continues to build on his chemistry with Tua, the sky is the limit for the man who some have called the next coming of Tyreek Hill. Chris Grier, Brian Flores and the rest of the Miami Dolphins’ decision makers will have come away from the 2021 NFL Draft with not only the best wide receiver in the class, but with additional first and third round picks due to the various trades that saw them ultimately land at pick number six – quite the coup.
Do you feel Miami’s line of thinking in ranking Jaylen Waddle ahead of Ja’Marr Chase was correct? Would you rather have Waddle or Chase lining up at receiver for the Miami Dolphins? Let me know in the comments below. FINS UP!