Week 16 Bama Pro of the Week: Jaylen Waddle
Each week during the NFL regular season, I'll award one standout Alabama player of the week whose performance boosted his team to victory. The only criteria being his team must win. At the end of the season, I'll name the MVP and hand out a few other awards to recognize the excellence the Alabama Crimson Tide has present in the NFL.
With a league-best 55 (counting Jalen Hurts) active players under contract across 28 franchises, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here's this week's winner:
Jaylen Waddle broke a couple of records Monday night while helping the Miami Dolphins get back over .500 with a 20-3 win over the New Orleans Saints. Waddle caught a Monday Night Football rookie record (tying Jerry Rice) 10 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Waddle scored the Dolphins' only offensive touchdown late in the third quarter and hit his signature penguin waddle celebration.
Waddle now holds the Miami franchise record for receiving yards by a rookie with 941 this season. His 96 receptions are also a Miami rookie record, but more importantly, it puts him just five catches behind Anquan Boldin's NFL record for receptions for a rookie. With two games remaining, the six receptions needed to break the record should be attainable. Hauling in just four more passes will make Waddle just the second rookie to ever record 100 receptions in a season.
Monday night was the third game Waddle had at least 10 receptions and his third-straight game with at least nine receptions and 90 yards. While he's helping some fantasy football owners win some championships, he's making a strong case to be the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He's still a bit of a longshot, but breaking records goes a long way in prying the award away from a quarterback, even if it's his old quarterback, Mac Jones.
Next week, the Dolphins will head to Nashville to take on Rashaan Evans, Julio Jones and the rest of the Tennessee Titans with playoff positioning prevalent for both teams.
And now for our honorable mentions:
- Damien Harris, Patriots: 18 carries for 103 yards and three touchdowns.
- CJ Mosley, Jets: 10 tackles including a sack and a forced fumble.
- Jalen Hurts, Eagles: 17-29 passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
- DeVonta Smith, Eagles: Five receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown.
- Josh Jacobs, Raiders: 27 carries for 129 yards.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers: 12 tackles and a pass deflection.
- Najee Harris, Steelers: 19 carries for 93 yards with five receptions for 17 yards.
- Amari Cooper, Cowboys: Seven receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown.
- Trevon Diggs, Cowboys: Two tackles and two pass deflections, including an interception.
- Rashaan Evans, Titans: Seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Be sure to tune back into tide1009.com each Tuesday to see the Bama Pro of the Week throughout the NFL season. Here's each winner from the 2021 season so far: