Darren Waller: Tale of the Tape for the Baltimore Ravens’ 6th Round Pick
Dec 31, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets wide receiver Darren Waller (88) makes a touchdown catch as Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Jamerson Love (5) defends during the first quarter in the 2014 Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Had anyone heard of Darren Waller before his name was called out on Saturday night? Apparently, the Ravens’ scouts knew all about him.
There’s plenty to like based on physical dimensions alone: 6’6″, 238 pounds with 4.46 40 speed is world class athleticism. He should make new Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman very happy indeed.
But most importantly, is Waller a football player?
To find out, I watched his 2014 tape against Mississippi State. Immediate impression: he is a large human being.
Waller spent the vast majority of the game blocking, as shown from the beginning of the video to the 0:24 mark.
At 0:25, play action allows him to run a basic 9 route straight down the field. His initial acceleration is frankly shocking for such a big man.
Waller beats his man with ease, but he slows up and allows the ball to go over him. With that frame, more committed speed may have given him a chance at the ball.
Waller also looks like a natural red zone threat. This is showcased at the 1:25 mark, as Waller fights through pass interference starting at 25 yards out from the end zone to go up and score.
The play that gives me the biggest hope for Waller’s future, however, is at the 3:43 mark. He reads the corner blitz and settles down into a hitch, giving his quarterback an easy 11 yard tiptoe along the sideline.
Darren Waller is comfortable being his quarterback’s security blanket, which bodes well for his NFL future.
Weaknesses in his game? Waller ran the most basic route tree possible, using nothing more than pure athleticism to get open.
He also didn’t get many opportunities to catch the ball, period. Catching the ball tends to be important in the NFL.
Head Coach John Harbaugh probably put it best: the new Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver has all the talent in the world. Darren Waller walks onto the field as a size speed threat with defined ability as a downfield blocker.
To become an NFL caliber wideout, he must develop into a bona fide route runner. If meets this challenge, however, the Ravens might have struck upon a gem.
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