CBS Sports highlights Daniel Jones-Darren Waller connection
After a long offseason, the 2023 regular season is finally set to begin in just a couple of days.
Prior to the official start of Week 1, CBS Sports broke down 10 offensive players that now find themselves in "perfect situations to thrive," which included Giants tight end Darren Waller.
"The Daniel Jones-Darren Waller pairing could create fireworks since Jones had the eighth-highest passer rating in the entire NFL when throwing to tight ends, but he targeted them at the 31st-highest rate in the league last season," the article states. "Waller could also help unlock Jones' deep ball since he had seven catches of 20 or more yards downfield, the most among all tight ends in 2022 despite missing eight games. The Giants were also one of the top 10 red zone offenses in the NFL a year ago, converting 63.3% of their red zone drives into touchdowns -- the seventh-highest rate in the NFL -- despite not having a go-to big body like Waller's 6-foot-6, 255-pound frame to throw it up to. Safe to say (head coach Brian) Daboll should have fun with Waller's route concepts."
The 6-foot-6 tight end has totaled just 83 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in 20 games across the last two seasons. However, it was only a few years ago that he proved to be one of the league's top playmakers. In 2019, Waller caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that up with 107 receptions for 1,196 yards, nine touchdowns and his first Pro Bowl selection in 2020.
In nine games (six starts) last season, Waller caught 28 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns. His 13.9 yards per reception set a new career-high, while his seven catches of 20+ yards downfield led all tight ends, as mentioned in the commentary above.
Since 2019, Waller has the second-most receptions (65) and receiving yards (789) among tight ends split out wide, trailing only Kelce. While looking at overall receptions and receiving yards among tight ends over the same span, Waller comes in at No. 3 in both categories, behind Kelce and Mark Andrews.
In addition to his contributions on the field, Waller has already made an impact off the field during his short tenure with the team. The veteran tight end was voted a team captain last week, marking the second time he has earned the honor in his eight-year career.
"It means a lot," Waller told reporters last week. "It something you don't take for granted. I don't come in to try to earn a 'C' on my jersey. I just come in to try to impact guys in a positive way because I know I'm somebody that's been in the league longer than a lot of guys in the locker room have, so they may look at me to see, 'How's he been able to sustain through good times and through bad?' I try to set an example like that, and it manifested into being a captain and I'm going to continue to try to do the same things that I've been doing as far as uplifting guys and just being a positive example."
View the best photos of all the action at the Giants' 2023 training camp.