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Silver Minings: Darren Waller getting respect in tight end power rankings

ESPN says the Las Vegas TE is “knocking on the door of the Kittle-Kelce class”

Los Vegas Raiders v New York Jets
Darren Waller
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

I can’t write about Darren Waller enough.

His story is one of the most amazing in all of the 25 seasons that I’ve covered the NFL, so it is tremendous when he gets recognition.

The national NFL media microscope is now focused on the Las Vegas Raiders’ incredible tight end, and I couldn’t be happier about it. In ESPN’s latest power rankings, Waller is creeping up to the top of the tight end landscape.

I think there’s no doubt that Waller — who overcame substance abuse issues to become a star with the Raiders after being an afterthought on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad — is in the same league as Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, who are currently considered the top tight ends in the game.

But Waller is right there. He is the starting point of the Las Vegas offense and he delivers on a regular basis. In the past two seasons, Kelce leads all tight ends with a combined 202 catches. Waller is just behind him at 197 catches.

It’s terrific to see him get the recognition he deserves.

In other Raiders’ links:

  • Something to prove: While on the Vegas Nation podcast, Raiders’ defensive end Maxx Crosby said that the mindset of the team’s defensive line is they have “something to prove.”
  • Could have been worse? According to the Football Outsiders, opposing Raiders’ offenses had 39 dropped passes. It was the second most in the league. Wow.
  • Confidence high on James: In an interview with the Raiders’ website, left tackle Kolton Miller talked up new center Andre James.