Sports Illustrated ranks Darren Waller among top tight ends
The Giants made a splash at the start of the new league year when they traded a third-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders for tight end Darren Waller.
Many experts commended the move at the time of the trade, and now that spring practices are in full swing, the talented tight end is once again receiving love from the media.
Sports Illustrated's Gilberto Manzano compiled a list of the top 10 tight ends in the NFL, where Waller came in at No. 4.
"When he's healthy, Waller is a matchup nightmare and might be as good of a pass catcher as the top two tight ends on this list," Manzano wrote. "Also, a fresh start with the Giants might help Waller regain his dominant form from his 2019 and '20 seasons. (He averaged 98.5 receptions and 1,170 receiving yards during that time.) Derek Carr benefited from Waller's presence during their time together with the Raiders. Now Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will have the luxury of throwing to the 6'6", 255-pound Waller."
The acquisition of Waller provides Jones with a big, explosive playmaker. The 6-foot-6 tight end put together back-to-back seasons with over 1,100 yards from 2019-20, totaling 197 receptions for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns during that span. This led to him being named to the Pro Bowl 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.
"Darren's been great," Jones said during the first week of OTA practices. "I think as soon as you walk on the field, you can see he's a big guy. He can run. He can run every route. Catches the ball really well, great body control. He's been really fun to work with. A really smart guy. He's picked up things really quickly too...
"You hear about most guys or you see them in the program and they're listed at 6'6", and they're really like 6'4" or 6'5". He's a true 6'6". He's a true 250, 260, and can fly, can run, can run all the routes. He's just an impressive athlete. He's just been locked in. You can tell it's important to him. He's put a lot of effort into learning the stuff and getting caught up. It's been fun working with him."
Here is Manzano's full list of the top 10 tight ends:
- Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
- George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
- Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
- Darren Waller, New York Giants
- Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
- T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings
- Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
- Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans
- Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
- David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
See all the action from OTA practice No. 6 at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
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