The Las Vegas Raiders have an elite player in tight end Darren Waller, but is the 2022 season the one where he becomes the No. 1 TE in the NFL?
Since Jon Gruden saw Darren Waller dominating as a member of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, the current Raiders tight end has seen his life change on and off the field. Not only has he become clean, but a beacon of hope for addicts everywhere, as well as being one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL.
Now, entering his fourth full season with the Silver and Black, Waller has emerged as one of the top tight ends in the NFL but is he now the best. The NFL is loaded with elite tight end talent, including guys like Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, and George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers, but I believe this is the year Waller takes over the top spot.
Looking around at the Raiders roster, Waller is finally going to have the help he needs to be even more dominant than he has been. While he was riddled with injuries last season, resulting in him playing in only 11 games, he still was able to rack up 55 catches for over 660 yards, this coming off a record-breaking year in 2020.
That season, Waller hauled in 107 catches for almost 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns, an elite performance by any measure. In 2022, his numbers could go even higher.
Raiders roster loaded on offense
Las Vegas has done a great job bolstering the talent on offense this offseason, including bringing in arguably the best wideout in the NFL in Davante Adams. They also added quality players to the running back room, and behind Adams, the additions of Demarcus Robinson and Mack Hollins could prove huge.
The big worry is along the offensive line, but if the wideouts are doing their job, that will open up the middle of the field for Waller, who will be the ultimate security blanket for Derek Carr once again in 2022.
With the NFL Draft now over and the UDFA class coming together, the Raiders will soon be looking to add a few more free agents to round out the roster.
In the end, I believe that Waller will not only put up eye-popping numbers, but thanks to the players around him, will be able to stay healthy and be an even more dangerous threat. He is an absolute matchup nightmare, and now, as the No. 2 option in the passing game behind Davante Adams, Waller will take his game to new heights in his age-30 season, becoming the best tight end in football.