Each year, experts and prognosticators try to predict which NFL players will have significantly better seasons than expected. This year is no different.
In a recent list of 10 players who are in a “perfect situation to thrive” in 2023, CBS Sports’ Garrett Podell ranks New York Giants tight end Darren Waller near the top of the list.
The Giants acquired Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason for a third-round draft pick. Thus far, he and quarterback Daniel Jones have shown a special kind of synergy.
The Daniel Jones-Darren Waller pairing could create fireworks since Jones had the eighth-highest passer rating in the entire NFL when throwing to tight ends, but he targeted them at the 31st-highest rate in the league last season.
Waller could also help unlock Jones’ deep ball since he had seven catches of 20 or more yards downfield, the most among all tight ends in 2022 despite missing eight games. The Giants were also one of the top 10 red zone offenses in the NFL a year ago, converting 63.3% of their red zone drives into touchdowns — the seventh-highest rate in the NFL — despite not having a go-to big body like Waller’s 6-foot-6, 255-pound frame to throw it up to. Safe to say Daboll should have fun with Waller’s route concepts.
Waller will become the clear-cut No. 1 option for the Giants, instead of having to fight All-Pro receiver Davante Adams for the spotlight and targets like 2022 like he did in Las Vegas, on a receiving core that includes Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton and Parris Campbell as other likely starters. Everything is lined up for Waller to have a monster 2023 season.
With Jones in his second season in the Brian Daboll/Mike Kafka system and Saquon Barkley fully healthy, the Giants offense is ready for takeoff. Waller will be the centerpiece of the passing game, with the Giants taking advantage of the mismatches he creates.