The three-best tight ends are football are pretty clear-cut. In some order, the three players are Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Darren Waller. It’s been that way for a year now, but the order of the three is still up for debate.
Earlier this week, we made the case that Waller might be the better player than Kittle after significantly outproducing him over the last two years. But can you actually make the argument that he is a better player than Travis Kelce? Well, that’s exactly what one NFL decision-maker believes.
In a recent piece by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, he talked to dozens of general managers, scouts and coaches to rank the best tight ends in the NFL. Waller finished with a consensus ranking of No. 3, but at least one executive or coach put him at No. 1. Here is what one defensive coach had to say about Waller:
“Defenses knew he was the guy to stop every week, and they couldn’t do it. It’s not like he had talent all around him. He’s the best athlete at the position, he’s young, he’s a capable blocker, and he can just overwhelm you in the passing game with his athleticism and speed.”
Waller doesn’t have the volume stats of a Travis Kelce, but the Raiders offense doesn’t throw as much as the Chiefs do either. Waller isn’t playing with Patrick Mahomes and he doesn’t have Tyreek Hill to soften some of the coverage.
It does seem a bit premature to rank Waller over Kelce, but the gap between these two players might not be as steep as most think. If Waller can replicate the numbers that we saw in the final eight games of the 2020 season, it’s not hard to believe that this is the year he could actually surpass Kelce as the best tight end in football.