Darren Waller was one of the few constants for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019. He was one of their best players on offense last season and should continue to play well with more talent around him.
The Raiders signed Waller from the Baltimore Ravens practice squad back in 2018. Few would be able to quantify how much of a difference he would make last season. The tight end ended up becoming a Pro Bowl alternate after finishing the year with 90 catches for 1,117 yards, and three touchdowns.
Waller had to overcome addictions in order to get where he is, which makes his impact even more meaningful and worth recognizing. Moreover, he was one of the top performers at his position, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the Raiders biggest strength heading into the 2020 season.
Waller’s Among the Cream of the Crop
In a recent article that breaks down every NFL team’s biggest strength, weakness and X-factor, Waller was named the Raiders top weapon.
“Darren Waller came out of nowhere last season. Waller ended the 2019 season ranked fifth in overall PFF grade at the tight end position behind only George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce and Tyler Higbee. His 29 receptions of 15 or more yards, however, were fewer than only Kelce. Waller quickly became quarterback Derek Carr‘s top target and one of the premier receiving threats at the position; expect him to remain in that conversation in 2020.”
That’s amazing considering 2019 was Waller’s first season as a starter in his career. He did not disappoint Raiders brass and made the most out of the opportunity they gave him.
Some could argue running back Josh Jacobs is the Raiders biggest strength and they would not be wrong. After all, the running back was one of the top performers at his position too. Nevertheless, the fact Waller played all games last season while Jacobs missed three might’ve given the tight end the edge. At the end, they will both be equally important for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.
Darren Waller thrived in 2019. All the weapons the Raiders added this past offseason should help the tight end get more opportunities. There’s no reason Waller can pick off in 2020 where he left off last year.
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Top Photo: Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press