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Why did Miami choose Jaylen Waddle as DeVonta Smith?

Miami made the first pick in the past two NFL drafts with Alabama players, and the first pick helped convince the Dolphins to get a second.

Miami picked Crimson Tide defender Tua Tagovailoa as the fifth choice in the 2020 NFL Draft and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle with a sixth choice in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“Obviously, we watched a lot of Tua last year,” said Dolphins coach Brian Flores. The receiver, for sure, as a backer, is just a really good player.

“And then getting to know him is ̵

1; just like that, I’m going to confirm a lot of the things we’ve heard. We just think he’s a very good player, a nice guy and a guy to fit in our locker room. ”

But if dolphins watched the Waddle for a long time from the Tagovailoa study, they saw a wide range of wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

Smith won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Award in 2020 and left Alabama as the SEC’s career leader in yard receiving and touchdown reception. The ankle injury caused waddle for seven games in 2020, when he scored 28 hits over 591 yards and four touchdowns over six games.Smith scored 117 hits over 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2020. After 68 receptions over 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019, Waddle caught 33 hits over 560 yards and six touchdowns in 2019.

When the Dolphins climbed 6th on Thursday night, Smith remained on the board, Miami took Waddle instead, and Smith went to the Philadelphia Phillies with a 10th qualifying.

EAGLES weighed all the factors before creating the DEVONTA SMITH.

Miami general manager Chris Grier said Dolphins liked Waddle for its “dynamic nature”.

“At the end of the day, they are both really good players, good boys and very competitive,” Grier said. “Just as we went through it, it was a blast that Waddle gave you, for example. Same as the game that came back …

“DeVonta is going to be a really good player in this league. For us, it is our ability to create amazing plays and the ability to return to us that we love so much. ”

Before sustaining an ankle on Oct. 24, Waddle scored 25 times over 557 yards and four touchdowns in the first four games of last season. Injuries could keep Waddle away this season. But he tried to get it back in the CFP National Championship game, and he scored three hits at 34 yards in Alabama’s 52-24 victory over Ohio State on Jan. 11.

Waddling’s determination to return in the final game impressed the Dolphins.

“It just shows once again the character and importance of football for him,” Grier said. “Many players choose not to play and risk injury. But he wanted to be with his teammates and he worked hard to rehabilitate and be back there and so involved for us when we got to know him. As Brian said, it was just finishing the picture before we actually got to know him, just saying this is the kind of kid who loves football and fits into our culture. ”

Waddle said his return had nothing to do with impressing the NFL’s decision-makers.

“I was just playing it because I loved playing it,” Waddle said, “so I didn’t really think of who I was going to or anything like that. They never talked about it or anything like that or anything. I’m just trying to be me I play because I want to play, not to avoid any means. ”

Miami returned 2020 top defender DeVante Parker, who scored 63 hits over 793 yards and four touchdowns, with four of the five wide receivers more than four caught at least 10 for the Dolphins last season. Last

Miami also signed a 53-shot Will Fuller in 879 yards and eight touchdowns for the 2020 Houston Texans and former Alabama dominant Robert Foster.

“His role will be exactly what he does,” Flores said of Waddle. “Out of every movie we’ve seen, we think he will suit both the inside and the outside. We think he will add a speed element. Obviously, he has some value in the counter-game. I think his versatility is a big part of this. His ability to play within, play in slots, play in perimeter, play in reverse games. Again, we are very excited to have him. “

Waddling would not go to Miami with any inclination as to how he should adopt the dolphin.

“I will do my best to do what the team asks for from me,” Waddle said, “and try to be the best player and do what the team asks of me at the highest level and level that I am. Know i can play at I will try to do whatever the coach wants in me. ”

Waddle said he was looking forward to receiving the ball from Tagovailoa one more time.

“I can tell you I’m excited to be back with him, cutting down on everything, our time and stuff like that,” Waddle said. “Fortunately for me, we spent time together at Alabama, so we had to move on. Go …

“But I came to work and I know he is too. So just do it and do it on a daily basis, just try to create and create more. ”

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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at AMarkG1 Chest

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