Jaylen Waddle, a running back for the Miami Dolphins, broke out in his first NFL preseason game. He ran for an impressive 40-yard touchdown and helped his team to a hard-fought victory over the Detroit Lions.
Jaylen Waddle and His Blistering Fast 40-Time Was on Full Display During the Miami Dolphins’ First NFL Preseason Game
Jaylen Waddle, a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is all about speed.
The Miami Dolphins wanted Waddle at the top of the draft because of the explosiveness he would provide to their offense. Waddle has an unofficial 40-yard sprint speed of 4.37 seconds. In 2020, the Dolphins’ wide receiver group struggled with speed and playmaking, prompting them to emphasize the position over the summer as they continued to develop around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Waddle wasted little time in demonstrating his speed in his first preseason game on August 14.
Against the Chicago Bears, Jaylen Waddle impressed the crowd with his quickness.
Although there isn’t much to go on, Waddle showed just enough of his 4.37 speed to have most Dolphins supporters optimistic about their new rookie. On the punt return, the number six overall selection deftly wove past defenders, creeping along the sideline for a huge gain.
As Waddle received the punt, even the commentators reporting on the game were giddy with anticipation.
Waddle didn’t catch a pass during the game on Saturday, but the Dolphins’ coaching staff shouldn’t be concerned just yet. The assumption is that Miami’s coaching staff would aggressively design the ball into Waddle’s hands, as second-year quarterback Tagovailoa is still adapting to NFL game pace.
With their new speedster, the Miami Dolphins will get inventive.
Mark Brown/Getty Images/Jaylen Waddle
Any club that selects a non-quarterback skill position player in the top ten of the draft does so with the intention of maximizing their worth.
The Dolphins, for example, could have easily chosen left tackle Penei Sewell. It’s impossible to have too many offensive lineman, and the Dolphins aren’t exactly strong in that department (they’re allegedly searching for some right tackle depth).
Instead, Miami went for Waddle, who is recovering from an ankle injury. Selecting a wide receiver in the top ten is hazardous enough; taking one who has been hurt lately is borderline reckless.
With that in mind, the Dolphins will work the ball aggressively to Waddle. You name it: bubble screens, punt returns, and end-arounds. Miami will use Waddle’s speed as a weapon.
Jaylen Waddle is on track to have a great debut year.
If the first punt return gave any indication, Waddle should have little trouble adapting to the NFL’s fast pace. He comes from a prestigious Alabama school that has a history of producing pro-caliber players, and he has the previously stated connection with the Dolphins’ starting quarterback.
When you consider that the Dolphins intend to gameplan around Waddle’s speed, he may have no option but to have a breakout rookie season.
During his three years at Alabama, Waddle had 1,999 receiving yards, 17 receiving touchdowns, 733 punt return yards, and three return scores.
Sports Reference provided all stats.
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