Raiders TE Darren Waller: A Well-Kept Secret But Probably Not For Long

It took a little longer than expected, but Rolando McClain might finally be responsible for something good going on in Oakland.

Well, not really, but the Baltimore Ravens did use a pick gained by trading McClain in 2014 to draft tight end Darren Waller in 2015. After going through a few McClain-like off-field problems of his own, Waller was eventually suspended, but returned to the Ravens’ practice squad. That’s where the Raiders found their 26 year-old tight end and signed him from the Baltimore practice squad in November of last year.

The Raiders were apparently so enamored with Waller that they didn’t even make an offer to Jared Cook. Gruden loves him. At 6’6, 255 pounds, Waller ran a 4.46 forty-yard dash as a rookie and entered the NFL with a scouting report that easily translates to one of the most physically gifted tight ends in the league.

This was Waller’s scouting profile in 2015:

“Yet another Georgia Tech receiver with great length. Plays to his height. Gathers himself and boxes out defenders on fades and jump balls. Uses long arms and gets on his ladder to sky over cornerbacks and high point throws. Effortless strider with untapped vertical speed to go yard. Plus body control. Usually gets two feet in bounds on sideline throws. Plucks the ball with extended hands. Doesn’t fear hits from safeties. Almost impossible to guard on back-shoulder throws. Confident and competitive when the ball is in the air.”

Not bad, huh?

Now in the driver’s seat to be the Raiders’ top pass-catching tight end, Waller has been off to a fine start in training camp. He has been winning one-on-one’s and even splitting out wide similar to the way Gruden schemed mismatches with Cook a year ago.

Derek Carr loves tight ends and with all the secondary attention Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will require, Waller should see plenty of one-on-one (and even one-on-none) matchups.

If fantasy football is your thing, maybe grab Waller where you can, when you can. For now, he’s one of the better kept national secrets at tight end, but that might not be the case for long.

Twitter: @raidersbeat


1 thought on “Raiders TE Darren Waller: A Well-Kept Secret But Probably Not For Long

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