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Jon Gruden: I’d take Darren Waller over any tight end

The Raiders shocked the Saints on Monday Night Football, but Mike Florio and Chris Simms are more concerned with the issues New Orleans' offense showed with an aging Drew Brees and injured Michael Thomas.

Raiders tight end Darren Waller turned in a huge performance in Monday night’s win over the Saints, catching 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown, and afterward his coach had some high praise for him.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he would rather have Waller than any other tight end in the NFL, including George Kittle or Travis Kelce.

“Darren’s a great player, our job is to try and get him the ball,” Gruden said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “I’d take him over any tight end. I know Kittle and Kelce are as good as they get, but Waller is right up there with them. This is his second year playing the position. It’s astonishing what this man can do.”

Gruden is in Year 3 of his overhaul of the Raiders, and Waller is one of the most talented players he’s brought in. Waller originally played for the Ravens but struggled to overcome substance abuse issues and was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2017 season. But Gruden signed him in 2018, and in 2019 Waller caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards. This year Waller looks poised to match or even exceed that production, and Gruden is thrilled to have him.