Chicago Bears: Non-QB NFL draft prospects worth trading up for in the first round
Wide receiver is a big need for the Chicago Bears and Jaylen Waddle looks legit
I know plenty of people think Ja’Marr Chase is the top wide receiver prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. I beg to differ. Jaylen Waddle to me is the guy you want to draft. Many people will say, but look at the touchdown numbers for Waddle verus Chase and teammate DeVonta Smith. Well, I am here to tell you, don’t worry about it.
Waddle brings a dynamic to his game I don’t see with the other two. Not saying Ja’Marr Chase (who is not included here because he is not likely to drop based on most mock drafts, but should he drop is also worth trading up for) is a bad player. In fact, I think the difference between Chase, Waddle and Smith is very slim, but I do see Waddle having a slightly higher ceiling in the NFL. Had Chase not opted out in 2020, maybe he’d have changed my mind about ranking Waddle first.
Waddle only played six games in 2020, but over his first four games, he gained over 120 yards in each of them. His season was derailed by an ankle injury. This did not stop Waddle from averaging 21.1 yards per catch. On only 28 receptions, Waddle had 591 yards and four touchdowns. He has an on-field speed that sets him apart from most. We are not just talking straightline speed either. He has this burst and vision after the catch that allows him to gain plenty of yards after the catch.
Yards after the catch (YAC) is something this Chicago Bears offense drastically needs more of. Darnell Mooney is a guy I am hoping see add to that category, but even he I find to be more of a straightline guy and not as twitchy. Waddle has the potential to be similar to Tyreek Hill in the sense he can take the ball to the house as soon as the ball touches his hands.