The ex-England international feels the calamitous nature of the Black Cats’ defending will make it difficult for them to turn things around.
"They've got a problem with their defence. I mean, it's not rocket science - you can see the back four has not gelled. They are conceding a lot of goals, too many goals - bad goals as well,” said Waddle.
"Let's be honest, he needs a couple of defenders if they're going to get out of this. If you can sort the defence out, then they will have a chance, but at this minute, you're going to say they'll do very well to survive the Premier League this year."
Dick Advocaat’s men currently sit bottom of the league table having managed just two draws in their first seven games.
16 goals have been shipped in the process and the club’s summer transfer dealings must now come under scrutiny.
January will provide a chance to bolster the defence, but their position could become untenable by then and Advocaat will have to get more out of his current crop before the next window of opportunity opens if they are to beat the drop.