Last week following a series of trades across the NFL that shifted the scenarios atop the 2021 NFL Draft, Daniel Jeremiah became one of the first big mock-makers to go against the grain and have the Arizona Cardinals select anything but a cornerback at No. 16.
Now Jeremiah isn’t alone.
Six days later, Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson has followed Jeremiah in having Arizona draft Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle in a mock draft.
Jaylen Waddle quietly polarizes the draft community. Those that believe in his projected upside think he resembles Tyreek Hill, who is one of the most dangerous receivers in the entire league. Waddle has a very similar skill set, but unlike Hill, he didn’t show consistent versatility in terms of alignment or role in college. That doesn’t mean he can’t assume that same role, it just means it’s a projection rather than already proven at the college level.
Even if Waddle is nothing but a blazing speedster with skills in space, he’s a perfect fit for Arizona’s offense and a player they would love to see fall to them.
Waddle played six games as a junior in 2020 due to an ankle issue but produced 591 yards and four touchdowns. His explosive speed at 5-foot-10 also brings experience as a return threat.
The interesting context in Monson’s draft of Waddle at No. 16 is that there is plenty of cornerback talent left on the board — Jeremiah had Alabama’s Patrick Surtain and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn off the board by the 16th pick.
Monson’s mock has Surtain heading to the Dallas Cowboys with the 10th overall selection and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley going 17th, to the Las Vegas Raiders. The PFF analyst does not have Horn going in the first round of his latest mock.
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