Who the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to select with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft was never a surprise, and the team made those assumptions official last month when they handed commissioner Roger Goodell a card that read “Trevor Lawrence.” Lawrence was considered not only the best quarterback in this class, but one of the best players as well. Recently, it was revealed there was another player the Jaguars were just as high on — who ended up being selected by another Florida team.
The Jaguars have been producing a team series on their official website titled “The Hunt,” which gives fans a look behind the scenes at the offseason, the draft and even rookie minicamp. Offering a behind-the-curtain look certainly opens you up to some things, and Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports made an interesting observation that was pretty noteworthy.
At about the 6:51 mark of Chapter 3, you can see Jaguars owner Shad Khan placing Lawrence’s draft magnet at the top of the board. His draft grade clearly read 8.0, which apparently is very high. We know this because Yahoo Sports pointed out draft grades for several other prospects Jacksonville had on its board. There was another 8.0 grade, however, and that was former Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Waddle played in just six games for the Crimson Tide last year due to injury, but still caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns. The dynamic playmaker burst onto the scene during his first season in Tuscaloosa, as he caught 45 passes for 848 yards, seven touchdowns and was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year as well as SEC Freshman of the Year. He was named First Team All-SEC in 2019, and then Second Team All-SEC in 2020. Waddle was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 6 overall pick — right behind fellow wideout Ja’Marr Chase, who went to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5. We don’t know the draft grades the Jags had for players like Chase or Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, but it’s clear the Jaguars were very high on Waddle, and he may have been their No. 1 receiver in the class. To share an 8.0 draft grade with Lawrence certainly makes it look that way.