The Oakland Raiders offense has undergone a complete makeover this offseason as they have brought in four new receivers in Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfroe and J.J. Nelson as well as a couple of offensive lineman, most notably Trent Brown.
There also have been a number of key departures, with the most notable being the team’s leading receiver from a year ago, tight end Jared Cook.
Cook recently signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints, so the Raiders are currently in search of a new starting tight end to replace him.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden addressed that at the owner’s meetings, saying that Darren Waller is in line to get an extended opportunity with Cook no longer in the organization, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic:
Gruden said it was “sickening” to lose TE Jared Cook. “Why I don’t like free agency. Darren Waller is going to get the chance of a lifetime. Darren, if you’re listening, ‘Let’s go, brother.’” #Raiders
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) March 26, 2019
Waller was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Georgia Tech. He was suspended twice in his first two seasons for performing enhancing drugs, but the Raiders signed him off of the Ravens’ practice squad last November.
In four games with the Raiders to finish out last season, Waller caught six passes for 75 yards.
Cook posted career-highs in targets (101), receptions (68), yards (896) and touchdowns (six), leading the Raiders in all of those categories as well in 2018, so Waller has some big shoes to fill if he does end up winning the starting job.