Raiders TE Darren Waller named ‘bounce-back’ candidate by ESPN

·2 min read

On paper, the Raiders have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. They have a Pro Bowl player at every skill position spot and a few players who simply can’t be covered by one defender.

One of those players is Darren Waller, who is coming off a down season. During the 2019 and 2020 seasons, he went over 1,100 yards and caught 90 or more passes both times. But last season, Waller’s production dipped in a big way as he missed six games.

In a recent article by ESPN’s 32 beat writers, they each named one player who could have a bounce-back season with their respective teams. That player for the Raiders is none other than Waller.

Here is what senior writer Paul Gutierrez had to say about the former Pro Bowl tight end entering the 2022 season:

“On one hand, Waller, who is only the 17th-highest-paid tight end in the NFL, is playing for a new contract, so he is more than motivated. On the other, the presence of Davante Adams on the outside will only present more opportunities for Waller, with so many double-teams going Adams’ way.

Waller might not approach the franchise-record 107-catch season he had for the Raiders in 2020, but he might end up being more effective. And that more than counts as a bounce-back season.”

Waller has missed the last few weeks of training camp due to a hamstring injury, but the belief is that it’s not a serious injury. Still, he hasn’t gotten many chances to work with the first-string offense this season and that is a bit concerning considering the new head coach and offensive coordinator.

Still, Waller should be just fine for the 2023 season and could even have a career year. He should see more one-on-one opportunities in the middle of the field and should be the preferred option in the red zone.

Look for Waller to have another 1,000-yard season and get back to the Pro Bowl.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire