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Giants Now: Darren Waller ranked among league's top tight ends


Darren Waller ranked among league's best tight ends

ESPN continued their 2023 season preview with a ranking of the NFL's top 10 tight ends, as voted by executives, coaches and scouts, which saw the Giants' Darren Waller come in at No. 5.

Even with missing 14 games over the last two seasons, Waller "still ranks third in receptions (280) and receiving yards (3,394) among tight ends since 2019," wrote ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "Waller can take over a game at any point. His 12 games with 100 receiving yards since 2019 trails only (Kansas City Chiefs Travis) Kelce among tight ends."

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 he led all tight ends with seven catches of 20+ yards downfield.

Since 2019, Waller has the second-most receptions (65) and receiving yards (789) among tight ends split out wide, trailing only Kelce.

The Giants acquired the tight end in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders back in March.

Here is ESPN's full ranking of the NFL's top 10 tight ends:

  1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
  3. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
  4. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
  5. Darren Waller, New York Giants
  6. T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings
  7. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
  8. Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
  9. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

In addition to ESPN praising Waller, The Athletic also highlighted the tight end's potential impact on the offense by naming him the team's non-QB MVP for the 2023 season.

"Offensively, the Giants made a splash after trading for Waller, and the tight end can help quarterback Daniel Jones shine..." The Athletic's Charlotte Carroll said. "Ideally, the fresh start will help him return to 2019-20 form — he had back-to-back 1,100-plus yard receiving seasons and tallied 12 receiving touchdowns. The Giants didn't give Jones a star wide receiver in free agency, but Waller is a top target and lined up a bit on the outside during the spring... Waller is one of the key pieces who could help the quarterback reach that next level."

View photos of new Giants tight end Darren Waller.

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