Darren Waller was excited to see the Raiders add offensive playmakers in free agency and the NFL draft.
The top-tier tight end sees an explosive lineup that should be able to score with the NFL’s best during the 2020 season. He had no problem setting the bar pretty high.
Waller believes the Raiders could have an elite group if it reaches vast potential working with quarterback Derek Carr and a massive (and expensive) front five.
“If you look at things across the board, starting with the offensive line and the quarterback, with improvement at the receiver positions and the tight ends trying to be consistent, I think our offense has a chance to do a lot of great things and put up a lot of great numbers,” Waller said Tuesday in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “The big thing for us is finishing in the red zone this year. I know that we’re doing everything in our power to improve upon that. I don’t feel like having a top five offense is out of the picture.
"We have that much talent. We have guys who are buying in. We have a balanced system. I have high expectations, and I think everyone on the offense would say the same thing.”
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That would represent a significant jump over last year’s achievements, though it’s possible considering the offensive firepower added this offseason. Receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, and versatile skill player Lynn Bowden Jr., were added in the draft. Tight end Jason Witten came about. Receiver Tyrell Williams is healthy again. So is running back Josh Jacobs.
And Waller’s the rock of the group, capable of improving after his breakout campaign in 2019.
The Raiders were able to move the ball last year with Waller, Jacobs and not much else. They were 11th in total offense but were 23rd in scoring, a disparity that can be remedied with better red zone play and more home runs.
Ruggs adds that ability, which is why Waller was energized after Alabama’s uber-competitive speed demon was added with the No. 12 overall pick.
“Drafting Henry Ruggs was definitely exciting,” Waller said. “Just seeing his playmaking ability was impressive but meeting him and seeing how good of a person he is, how humble he is, was also great.
"He has manners. He doesn’t really say a whole lot. He comes in and works hard. I like that.”
Those final comments could also describe Waller, who found consistency on and off the field during the 2019 season. He had 90 catches for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. That last number should go up, but he still is searching for ways to improve his overall game.
“I want to have an attitude in the run game,” Waller said. “My want-to is there. My attitude has improved as the years have gone by, and now it’s about mastering the technique week in and week out. It’s the mindset in the run game and in pass protection as well. I was reliable in those area some of the time, and some of the time I wasn’t.
"It’s about being consistent in all aspects of the game and being able to learn.”