Raiders: How Josh McDaniels can get Derek Carr back to the Pro Bowl
Tight End usage
When thinking back on the members of the Patriots dynasty, it does not take long before Rob Gronkowski comes to mind. A legendary tight end who had many illustrious seasons under Josh McDaniels, Gronkowski had 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns during his time in New England.
As such, the Raiders head coach knows how much an elite tight end can help a quarterback. Hunter Henry was even a factor with nine touchdowns during his lone season with the Patriots.
Luckily for him, the Raiders have one of the NFL’s best. Since being scooped off the Ravens practice squad in 2018, Waller has recorded two seasons of 1,000+ yards including his 2020 season where he set the Raiders franchise record for receptions in a season. The definition of a matchup nightmare, his skillset has some parallels to the dominant force that was “Gronk” in New England.
What stands out about both guys is their athletic ability. Both are listed at 6’6″ but have exceptional movement skills that allow them to be a factor in many facets of the game. Running a 4.43 40-yard dash, Waller is even faster than the former Patriots legend, although he is about ten pounds lighter.
While it may seem obvious, expect McDaniels to feature Waller heavily. It is also likely that, due to his mismatch ability, Waller is used in a variety of spots. Not just an inline tight end, Waller can be a factor lined up as a wideout too much like Gronkowski was in seasons past. After the consecutive tenures of Jared Cook and Waller, Carr has also grown increasingly confident targeting tight ends.