Jaylen Waddle Sides with DeVonta Smith, Chooses Mac Jones over Tua Tagovailoa

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 3, 2021

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones runs the ball in the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Mac Jones got another vote in the premier Alabama quarterback conversation, this time from Jaylen Waddle.

Asked on NFL Now whether he preferred playing under current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa or Jones, who took over this season, Waddle chose Jones—the same decision that Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith made when he was asked the same question

"He was a guy I came in with and from day one, we was on the third team together and we worked our way up," he said. 

When Jones finally got his chance to debut in 2020 in the wake of Tagovailoa's departure, Waddle wasn't able to be there alongside him for the whole season.

The Texas native appeared in four complete games before he was injured early in a game against Tennessee in October. He didn't appear again until the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

In a complete 2019 campaign, he was named a first-team All-American, the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year and was a conference first-team honoree on special teams. 

Waddle's strongest outings as a receiver came under Tagovailoa in 2018, when he collected 848 yards and seven touchdowns to earn the SEC Freshman of the Year honor, leading all freshman receivers in the conference with 3.1 receptions and 56.5 receiving yards per game. 

He concluded his Alabama career with 1,999 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. 

Tagovailoa joined the Dolphins as the No. 5 overall pick in 2020, and his ceiling could have been higher if he hadn't suffered a hip injury that ended his season in November 2019.

As for Jones, he broke out in his first year as a starter, leading Alabama to an undefeated season with an FBS-leading 4,500 passing yards, collecting a second-best 41 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Though he lost the Heisman to his teammate, he was named the country's best quarterback when he won the Davey O'Brien award.

Heading into the 2020 draft, Bleacher Report's Brad Gagnon projected Jones to go to the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 12 pick. 

Perhaps the second endorsement could make him rise up to the level of the quarterbacks who are widely projected to go before him, which includes projected top pick Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance.