Last year, Darren Waller was one of the Las Vegas Raiders’ few bright spots on offense. Although the Silver and Black has now more offensive weapons this season, the tight end continues to stand out.
The Raiders knew what they had in Darren Waller
The Raiders signed Waller off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad in 2018. They liked the tight end enough that they felt comfortable parting ways with Jared Cook. The team’s brass knew what they were doing and quickly saw their decision pay off.
Earlier in last year’s training camp, Waller showed signs of playmaking prowess that would end up carrying over to the regular season. Although he only scored three touchdown passes, he hauled in 90 receptions and 1,145 yards. He was basically the team’s number one target in 2019 and was their only player to have more than 1,000 receiving yards.
Darren Waller’s success continues in 2020
Last season was no fluke and Waller’s success has continued in 2020. So far, he’s hauled in 34 receptions for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Although his yards per reception has decreased from 12.7 to 8.7 this season, he’s still having a solid season.
The Raiders have targeted Waller 45 times this season, which leads the team and ranks second for tight ends in 2020. Also, he has avoided four tackles after the catch, first at his position. It may not sound like much but it shows he is still efficient even if his numbers aren’t on par with the ones he registered in 2019.
Think about it. The Raiders added wide receivers Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor in the offseason. However, Waller is still quarterback Derek Carr’s go-to target. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knew this and made it a point of emphasis to stop the tight end. The Pats defense successfully neutralized Waller and he had a season-low two catches for nine yards. The Raiders went on to lose that game 36-20.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Waller will be one of many Raiders players that need to stand out against them if they want to win their fourth game of the year.
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