The Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle doesn’t get enough credit for Tyreek Hill’s success


over the past few weeks, Jaylen Waddell His breakout season is now somewhat old news, as if everyone expected him to suddenly produce like a top 10 receiver. During press conferences, almost every question dolphins Waddle Fields head coach Mike McDaniel is also talking about Tyreek Hiil.

It’s like they’re a package deal. And to some extent, they are. There is no doubt that Waddle’s appearance is also due to Hill. But, perhaps less recognisably, there is no doubt that Hill’s record-setting pace is also a ripoff for credit. The tandem creates one hell of a defense opposing conundrum.

“Yeah, that’s exactly what it is,” Tua said earlier this month. “If one is doubled, then we look for the other, and if this one is doubled, too, if they doubled, then we have to find the next guy.”

But they don’t often have to go to the next guy. Hill led the Waddle Dophins in receiving yards each week of the season. In week 10, the Brown They did what they could to limit Miami finding their top two picks, with Waddle scoring 66 yards and Hill 44 receiving and a touchdown. But the Dolphins also took advantage of the receiver Trent Sherfieldfull back Alec Ingold and narrow end Mike Gesicki. Miami put up 39 points. And they made it look easy.

Heading into bye week, both Dolphins receivers are in the top five in the league for receiving yards. Hill has 81 catches for 1,148 yards and four touchdowns. Waddle has 51 catches for 878 yards and six touchdowns. It’s not as simple as saying Waddle is up there with the likes cooper cupAnd the Stephen Diggs and Justin Jefferson, the others who make up the top five. But it’s also unfair to completely exclude him from elite WR status.

“Jaylen Waddle doesn’t get enough credit for what he really does,” Hill said last Thursday.

Related: FOX Sports’ NFL writing staff ranks the league’s top 10 receivers

The hard part about evaluating Waddle as a truly elite receiver is that he is a WR2. This means that he generally draws coverage from the team’s second-best cornerback. This context blurs the picture of how he ranks among the highest recipients. If Waddle isn’t already in the top 10, he’s undoubtedly in the top 30. After all, he was the best receiver in Miami’s truly awful offense last year and managed 104 catches for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns. That proved he could carry the WR1 mantle—perhaps especially given the fact that he put yardage on an offense where he was the center of attention for defenses.

Advanced stats reveal more than counting stats show. Waddle ranks as the eighth best receiver in the NFL by PFF scores. While Hill is known as a post-catch yardage machine, it’s Waddle (not Hill) who ranks in the top 10 among YAC receivers, with 6.5 post-catch yardage per catch, which is over two full yards more than the expected yardage count After catch per catch, according to next generation statistics. In other words, Waddle generates big plays. He doesn’t just allow the crime – which McDaniel planned – to generate his big plays.

In many ways, Waddell was right up there with Hill. Even receivers coach Wes Welker couldn’t stop himself from talking about one and not the other.

“These guys are just different. It makes our job a lot easier,” Welker said. “Where there can be a little bit of a mistake with them, a lot of the players have to be more perfect, especially in the NFL, all these different things, but the line of error for them is a little bit more than the others.”

Waddle isn’t one to say much or pump his chest. Even his iconic landing celebration – The Waddle – is a little goofy. (While Hill’s stunning touchdown celebrations belong in a gymnastics gym.) Hill will remain in the spotlight and Waddle seems content to let him have it. But given what Waddle has accomplished this season, there’s no question he could be the leading receiver on another team. Instead, it is the #1B in the NFL’s highest octane offense.

And Miami won’t stop feeding its two best picks unless the NFL makes them. Tagovailoa was recently asked how often he would like to target Waddell and Hill.

“But a lot of times it can be opened,” Tua said.

Prior to joining FOX Sports as an AFC East correspondent, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @tweet.


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