The Oakland Raiders have a superstar pass catcher.
That’s right. Even though Antonio Brown is no longer with the Raiders, there’s still an elite pass catcher in Oakland.
Tight end Darren Waller.
All offseason we heard about the matchup nightmare. And though we are only two weeks into the season, it’s already clear that Darren Waller is the truth.
In those two games, Waller hauled in 13 catches for 133 yards while averaging just over 10 yards per catch. He doesn’t have a touchdown yet but clearly that will change soon enough.
Through two games, that’s good enough for second on the Raiders in yards and first in catches. Not too shabby for a guy who caught fewer passes in al of 2018 than he did on opening night of 2019.
But despite leading the team in receptions and targets, you still get the feeling that the Raiders should be using him more.
No disrespect to Tyrell Williams, who’s had a very nice start to the year, but Waller appears to be the most dynamic threat in the Raiders passing game.
Waller has caught all but two targets that have come his way. Almost half (6 of 13) of his catches resulted in a first down. And perhaps most importantly, he leads the team in yards after the catch.
And by A LOT.
Waller currently has 49 more YAC than the next best pass catcher on the team, Tyrell Williams. Considering how important YAC is to Jon Gruden’s offense this is a really big deal.
I know it seems like the Raiders already use Waller a good amount. They do. But they should still use him more.
Derek Carrier had five targets on Sunday. Ryan Grant had the same number of targets with -2 yards to show for it. There were plenty of targets that were wasted on Sunday. I know you have to spread the ball around, but you also have to let your best players have a chance to win games for you.
Waller is the best pass catching threat the Raiders have and they need to lean heavily on him this season. He needs to be a focus of their offense. They should force feed him the ball until defenses sell out to stop him. At that point they can spread it around more.
But until defenses decide to make stopping Waller their game plan, the Raiders should make them pay for that mistake.