In the coming weeks, we will be going position-by-position and previewing this year’s draft class. Before we get into the reports though, it’s important that we explain how our grading scale works. As a scouting staff, we use common terminology to grade every trait that we evaluate. We use a 1-9 scale with a 1 representing a “Reject” grade and a 9 meaning a “Rare” grade for whatever trait we are evaluating. We spend a lot of time in our internal Scout School making sure that our scales are calibrated with one another, and this common scale and set of language is a key aspect to ensuring that our evaluations are consistent (that…and cross-checks).
Additionally, for each position in the book, there are positional grading scales. As opposed to grading traits, these scales apply to stacking the final grades for each prospect.
The final wide receiver scale is as follows:
|9.0 – 7.0||High-end 3 down starter. Pro Bowl level player.|
|6.9 – 6.7||Strong starter who plays on all 3 downs.|
|6.4||3rd receiver. Role player.|
|6.1 - 6.0||Developmental. Top traits but needs time.|
|5.9||4th receiver (with special teams ability).|
|5.8||5th receiver (with special teams ability).|
|5.6||4th receiver (no special teams ability).|
|5.5||5th receiver (no special teams ability).|
For this preview, we will look at Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Jaylen Waddle: WR Rank 1 of 48 | Final Grade: 7.1
Report by Nathan Cooper
Waddle is a dynamic playmaker in all facets of the game who has the speed, savvy, and route running ability to consistently separate and then win with the ball in his hands.
Jaylen Waddle is primarily a slot receiver for Alabama’s pro-style, RPO offense, but moved outside more in 2020. He started 9 of the 34 games he played for the Crimson Tide. He suffered a fractured ankle in the middle of 2020 which forced him to miss seven games. He has an average frame, but is a quick-twitch athlete who has rare speed to compensate. He plays hard and competes, also showing toughness in his game, as evidenced by attempting to play in the National Championship.
Off the line, Waddle shows his speed and quickness. He gets into his route very quickly. Due to his size, he can have a little trouble against bigger defenders when they get hands on, though his foot quickness is enough to avoid them most plays. He ran a diverse route tree, but digs, slants, outs, and crossers were his most prevalent.
He does an excellent job of varying his speed mid-route. Instead of just running full speed all the time, he throttles down before showing incredible burst and acceleration. He can obviously win with his speed and quickness, but his route running and savvy allow him to consistently win at the top of routes.
He has good hands, but sometimes seems to not know whether to put thumbs together or thumbs away when reaching out for balls off his frame. Waddle shows good body control and tracking ability to find the ball downfield. He’s also able to make catches in traffic, holding onto passes with defenders bearing down or attached to his hip.
When he gets the ball in his hands, he has a chance to take it the distance. His speed allows him to easily break angles of defenders and leave them chasing. He also has the speed and elusiveness to make moves on defenders and make them miss to gain the extra yards. He’s a player that not only can run by guys down the field, but can be used as a screen player or on routes near the LOS to allow him to create yardage on his own.
As a blocker, Waddle shows the willingness to get in front of defenders and get his hands on, but doesn’t have the strength to sustain or move them off their spot. In the run game, he can be a recipient of jet sweep and end around runs to get him the ball at full speed and use his ability to make plays.
Waddle projects as a future No. 1 receiver at the next level who can work on the outside or inside. His speed, quickness, and route running ability will allow him to be a featured receiver. On 3rd downs, he fits best in the slot where he can use his speed on screens, run away from defenders on crossers, or win over the top with verticals. He also possesses dynamic return ability in both the kick and punt games.
|Home run speed||Inconsistent hand placement|
|Savvy route runner||Lacks block strength|
|Wins at the top of routes|
|Run After Catch||8|
|Year||On-Trgt Catch%||Catchable Catch%||YAC/Rec||Trgt Share||TAE||Rec Rating||Total||Per Target||vs Man||vs Zone|
|Route Running||Total Points||Total Points Rating|
|Year||Routes Run||Y/RR||Deep Pct||Unique Routes||Slot%||Slot||Wide||Rec Total||Total||Per Route||Per Play|
This article is an excerpt from Sports Info Solutions’ third annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 300 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2021 (the SIS glossary defines the stats used in this article). The book also includes unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, research on key football subjects (including injuries), and the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.