Report: Dolphins' Jaylen Waddle to be Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2021

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) is tackled during the second half of an NFL football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
AP Photo/Ian Walton

The Miami Dolphins placed rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Given that Miami's game against the New York Jets is three days away, Waddle could be in danger of missing the contest.

The Dolphins made Waddle the second wideout to come off the board in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft when they selected the former University of Alabama standout with the No. 6 overall pick.

Thus far in his debut NFL season, Waddle has perhaps exceeded expectations with 86 receptions for 849 yards and four touchdowns, plus a rushing score.

While Waddle's collegiate production was dwarfed by Crimson Tide teammate and 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, Waddle was a key part of Alabama's offense nonetheless.

His best season came as a freshman in 2018 when he made 45 grabs for 848 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 18.8 yards per reception.

After a dip in production the following season, Waddle seemed poised to put up big numbers as a junior in 2020, however, a broken ankle limited him to six games.

Waddle was a dominant force in those six games with 28 receptions for 591 yards and four touchdowns. His 21.1 yards per catch further established him as the premier deep threat in the 2021 NFL draft as well.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Waddle's 2021 season was that he worked his way back from a broken ankle in order to play in the Tide's College Football Playoff National Championship Game win over Ohio State.

Playing was a risk in terms of potentially getting injured and hurting his draft stock, but Waddle likely endeared himself to NFL teams by showing will and determination.

The selection of Waddle was a clear message from the Dolphins that they wanted to surround quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with as many weapons as possible.

In addition to taking Waddle, Miami signed wideout Will Fuller in free agency, adding them to a receiving corps that already included DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson and Preston Williams.

If Waddle is unable to play Sunday against the Jets, Parker will likely be Tua's go-to target with Wilson, Williams, Mack Hollins and Isaiah Ford likely earning more looks as well.

It could also mean a bigger role for tight end Mike Gesicki and the Miami running backs in the passing game.