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Darren Waller gives Daniel Jones a 'clear mismatch'


Daniel Jones didn't mince words when he was asked about Darren Waller on the first day of the offseason workout program.

"I think he's a clear mismatch," the franchise quarterback said about the dynamic tight end, who was acquired via trade this offseason.

Jones won't throw to him in a true offense vs. defense practice setting until organized team activities (OTAs) next month, but Waller's reputation precedes himself. And so does his tape.

The 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end has amassed 298 catches for 3,572 yards and 19 touchdowns in 74 games (52 starts) for the Raiders (2018-2022) and Ravens, who originally selected him in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Waller's 107 receptions in 2020 are tied for fourth-most by a tight end in NFL history. Only six others have reached the 100-catch plateau: Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce (three times), Jason Witten, Mark Andrews, Tony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark. Waller is one of six tight ends to record 200 receiving yards in a single game, hitting that exact number in a 2020 game against the New York Jets.

"[He is] someone the defense has to worry about how they are going to account for him, how they are going to cover him, who they are going to put on him and how they are going to play it," Jones said. "I think that just adds an element to our attack and gives the defense something else to worry about when you have a guy that big and that strong who can move like he can and open up the field. Just gives them something to worry about. We'll be able to move him around, use him in certain places and take advantage of his skill set."

View photos from the Giants' offseason workout program at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Waller infuses the offense with a weapon capable of doing things that haven't been done a lot in franchise history, let alone recent memory. Waller posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020, the year he made the Pro Bowl. The Giants have had only one tight end reach 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. Mark Bavaro had 1,001 in 1986.

Meanwhile, no Giant has eclipsed 800 yards or 70 catches in a season since Jones entered the league in 2019. The Giants also ranked last in completions of 20 yards or more in 2022 with 28, which were 21 fewer than the NFL average.

"I think he's certainly a big piece of [the offense], and he brings a lot of that ability," Jones said. "And like I said, he adds something for the defense to worry about with his skill set and his athleticism and how he can get open and get behind the defense. I think he'll be a big part of what we're doing going forward, and it's only the first day of phase one [of the offseason program], so there's a lot of work to do. We have a lot to get done before we play a game."

Until then, safety Xavier McKinney is the one who has to "worry" about Waller.

"Obviously just knowing and seeing the way he plays, his style of play, the threat that he is to defenses, I know for me personally, there are going to be some fun practices because I know I'm a real competitive guy," McKinney said. "I know he is, too. It's going to be fun, and I look forward to it. He's going to make me better. I'll make him better. So, it's going to be some good matchups, and I know he's going to hurt some people on the other side of the ball, too, just being a threat that he is. It's exciting to see, and I'm glad that he's a part of our squad."

View photos of the Giants arriving for the start of the offseason workout program.


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