It’s only February, but NFL Draft season is in full swing.
PFF.com is going to be stuffed to the gills with content on all of your favorite draft prospects, as PFF draft guru Mike Renner has been grinding tape all throughout the college football season. His work has already produced the second version of PFF’s Draft Guide, available to grab with a PFF Edge or Elite subscription.
Compared to Mike, I’m late to the party when it comes to draft evaluation. Still, I come armed with PFF’s database to help me watch the tape, and I thought we could go through that journey together in this article.
The first player I looked at was the Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama WR Devonta Smith. Next up was LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, the player many, including PFF, rank as the best receiver in the draft class.
This time, we’re going to look at Jaylen Waddle, the fourth Alabama receiver likely to be taken in the first round over the past two draft classes. Waddle has dealt with injuries and being low on the receiver totem pole at Bama, so we can expand our sample size a little bit.
To get a quick feel for his game, I’m going to fire up every target thrown his way not just from a single season, but from his entire college career. This may provide some interesting growth insights, as well as just a snapshot.
The same caveats as before still apply: This is not a complete picture of his game, as it will lean toward plays where he was actually open. But it will give a good snapshot of his route-running ceiling, as well as his skills, when the ball does get sent his way — including a look at how he wins.
For a first impression, this method makes a lot of sense, and we can go back and fill in the blanks later.
Here are my thoughts in chronological order as I sifted through Waddle's tape. Each takeaway is labeled with +/- (or double plus or minus for significantly good or bad things) and a ~ for neutral.