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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle credits mindset for his growth as a receiver

Former first-round pick Jaylen Waddle nearly doubled his yards per catch last year.

NFL: JAN 08 Jets at Dolphins Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jaylen Waddle hit the ground running in the NFL by recording 104 receptions — the most by a rookie. The former first-round pick caught 29 fewer passes in his sophomore season but also set career highs with 1,356 yards and eight touchdowns — while leading the league with an average of 18.1 yards per reception.

“It was just a mindset,” Waddle told KPRC 2 Sports’ Ari Alexander. “[Coach Mike McDaniel] came in and really harped on YAC. Having a guy like [Tyreek Hill], who’s a YAC monster, you don’t got no choice but to learn from him and soak up all that game that he’s giving.”

Waddle nearly doubled his rookie-season yards per reception and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa led the league with an average of 8.9 yards per pass attempt. Tagovailoa’s accuracy helped Waddle earn 802 of his receiving yards on targets deemed ‘open,’ according to Fantasy Points Data.

“I think everybody sees it, knowing exactly where to put the ball so his receivers can not just catch it, but catch it and run with it,” Waddle said. “That’s what makes Tua, Tua.

Only the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Los Angeles Chargers averaged more passing yards than the Dolphins. While McDaniel said he would like to run the ball more next season — it’s hard to imagine Miami taking opportunities away from Waddle and Hill.