After two lackluster years in Baltimore, TE Darren Waller dazzled in his second year with the Raiders in 2019, putting up 1,145 receiving yards in his breakout campaign.
In 2020 he proved it was no fluke, and racked up another 1,195 receiving yards to go with a career-high nine touchdowns. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection and put the rest of the league on notice that he was there to stay.
Heading into 2021, the expectation was that Waller would again put up Pro Bowl-caliber numbers. Through 10 games he tallied 665 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 12.1 yards per reception. Unfortunately, heading into Week 13, Waller was diagnosed with an iliotibial band strain and he was shut down for the season.
Despite battling injuries throughout the season, he managed to finish in the Top 10 of TEs in a handful of notable statistical categories, including:
- Targets – 93 (#8)
- Target Share – 24.2% (#2)
- Target Rate – 26.7% (#6)
- Snap Share – 80.9% (#10)
- Air Yards – 833 (#6)
- Air Yards Share – 25.4% (#4)
- Deep Targets – 12 (#3)
- Red Zone Targets – 15 (#10)
Health & Draft Analysis – While injuries did hold him back in 2021, Waller has all the tools and skills to be an elite TE in 2022. He is getting older (he turns 30 this year), but Las Vegas adding Davante Adams should help take some of the pressure off Waller.
From a health perspective, his numbers aren’t great, but they could be much worse all things considered. His Injury Risk is Elevated, but his Health Performance Factor is Peak. The Raiders are going to have to put together an explosive offense to compete in the AFC West, and I think Waller will be a big part of that. I would grab him in the fourth or fifth round, as TE5 off the board.