Updated April 20, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
In the middle and late April, NFL teams conduct their last round of draft meetings as the coaching staffs get involved and final decisions are made about players being ruled out medically and for character issues. When the coaches get involved, draft boards and team preferences can get shaken up, with some prospects rising around the league and others falling. In recent weeks, one prospect who has enjoyed a bit of a late rise is Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. In speaking to sources at multiple teams, they think Waddle stands a good chance of going in the top eight, and teams picking in the teens expect Waddle to be off the board.
Teams love Waddle's game-breaking speed and ability to tilt the field. They feel the ultra-fast Waddle is going to be a dynamic playmaker with a dangerous ability to rip off long gains on any touch of the football. Throughout the 2021 NFL Draft process, team sources have compared Waddle to Chiefs star Tyreek Hill, and they think he could be that kind of playmaker at the next level.
Some sources believe Waddle could go as high as No. 6 overall to the Miami Dolphins if Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and LSU wide receiver Ja'Mar Chase are off the board. The Lions at No. 7 are considered a top candidate to draft Waddle, as they could use more receiving weapons after losing Kenny Golladay in free agency. Waddle could get consideration at No. 8, where Carolina has D.J. Moore nearing the end of his contract and has lost Curtis Samuel. The low point for Waddle could be the Giants at pick No. 11, but multiple team sources believe Waddle won't get that far and will be off the board.
A lot could happen and change in the final days before the 2021 NFL Draft, but with 10 days remaining, Waddle has become a hot prospect who teams are expecting to be off the board as a top-10, if not a top-eight, selection.