Raiders: Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs debut too low on NFL Top 100
Darren Waller debuts at No. 99
Darren Waller’s journey from undrafted free agent, to repeat substance abuse offender, to one of the best tight ends in the league is an inspiration. The rest of the NFL learned all about Waller during Hard Knocks in 2019, but Raider Nation knew in the final weeks of the 2018 season that we had a potentially special player on our hands.
Even with the higher expectations for his potential, Waller blew all of that out of the water with one of the best seasons by a Raiders tight end in franchise history, and quickly became one of the best tight ends in the league. He was robbed of a Pro Bowl appearance by the record bias of voters, and missed out on an alternate appearance because of injury, but we should expect him to come back with a vengeance in 2020.
His ranking of 99 is criminally low because he is comfortably the third best tight end in the league behind Travis Kelce and George Kittle. There has been one other tight end ranked so far, and it is Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz at number 85. Ertz is a fine player, and a Super Bowl champion, but Waller had a better 2019 campaign on a team equally devoid of weapons.
Waller had only two more catches than Ertz but outpaced him by more than 200 yards receiving. Waller had the far superior average yards per catch, and more than doubled Ertz’s yards after the catch (570 to 255). He was the more explosive weapon down the field and accounted for three more first downs than Ertz.
The only stat where Ertz has the edge is touchdowns with a small margin of six to three.
Ertz has definitely had the better career, but this is not a career rankings list, it’s a list of who is the better player right now and Darren Waller has the edge at the moment even if it’s by a slight margin. He may have started his career as an unknown player but his profile will only continue to rise.