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Meet the Prospect: Jaylen Waddle

Name: Jaylen Waddle

Position: Wide receiver

School: Alabama

Ht/Wt: 5-10/182

How he fits: The Lions are retooling the receiver position this offseason. Kenny Golladay signed with the New York Giants, and Marvin Jones Jr. and Jamal Agnew both signed with Jacksonville. Danny Amendola and Mohamed Sanu remain free agents as well.

The Lions signed Tyrell Williams and also have Quintez Cephus and Geronimo Allison returning, but it's certainly expected the team will continue to add to the position via the draft, which is loaded at the position.

Waddle is one of the fastest players in this draft and someone who was a big-play threat every time he touched the ball for Alabama. He's drawn comparisons to Kansas City's Tyreek Hill.

Waddle's also been one of the best return men in the country over the last few years. In 2019, he averaged a whopping 24.4 yards per punt return, scoring on both a punt and kickoff return that season. Losing Agnew in free agency means the Lions are also looking for a new return man. Waddle could fill two key roles in one prospect.

He's coming off a broken ankle that forced him to miss six games in 2020 so his pro day Monday and the medical evaluations will be an important part of the pre-draft process.

Key observations: 11 of Waddle's 20 career touchdowns went for 50-plus yards. While 20 touchdowns might seem on the lower end for a player considered to be a top 10 pick, Waddle played alongside Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith during his time in Tuscaloosa. Waddle also has a career 19.3-yard punt return average with two touchdowns.

What they had to say about him: "Waddle is a slightly undersized receiver with extraordinary speed and playmaking ability. He has the ability to line up inside or outside. His acceleration in his release is elite. He destroys the cushions he receives from defenders in a hiccup and can find a second and third gear once the ball is in the air. He's at his best on runaway routes, but he flashes the ability to efficiently gear down and work back downhill.

"I thought his hands were improved this fall (see: crazy catch versus Missouri in the season opener). He's one of the most talented kickoff and punt returners (just watch the tape of his 2019 performance against Auburn) to enter the NFL over the last decade. Overall, Waddle isn't quite as strong as Tyreek Hill, but he's capable of having the same impact in the NFL." -- NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who lists Waddle as his No. 6 overall prospect in his Top 50 rankings.

What he had to say: "Me and him being built similar, it's just great to see a guy who's doing good in the NFL that you can just model your game after," Waddle told ESPN of the comparisons to Hill. "He's just producing so good right now. Obviously, I watch him a lot. Cooper Kupp is another receiver that I watch a lot. I try to watch guys that have similar body types to me."

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