It came a year too late but Darren Waller has officially been selected to his first Pro Bowl. The Las Vegas Raiders has arguably been one of the two best tight ends in the NFL this season and is more than deserving of the achievement. He should’ve also made it last season after catching 90 passes for 1,145 yards but he’s been even better this year.
With two games left, he’s caught 93 passes for 967 yards and eight touchdowns, which is a huge improvement over the three he caught last year.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Waller said of the news, via Raiders Wire.
Waller was almost out of the NFL due to multiple substance abuse violations early in his career. The fact that he was able to get clean was an achievement on its own but now he’s cementing himself as one of the NFL’s next big stars.
“Honestly, I never really thought anything like this would happen,” Waller said. “This was never my goal. I never really had big goals or anything. Just to be here is definitely a blessing. I’m speechless right now, reflecting on life and everything that I’ve been through. It’s an incredible experience and I appreciate the people and players and coaches who had a vote in considering me. I really appreciate them all respecting how I play.”
The world can no longer deny that Waller is a force and an offensive juggernaut. If he can stay healthy, there should be plenty of more Pro Bowl nods coming.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Sign up for the Heavy on Raiders Newsletter!
Josh Jacobs Also Named to 1st Pro Bowl
Waller wasn’t the only Raider to get his first Pro Bowl nod. Running back Josh Jacobs was also selected to the team. Despite missing a game, Jacobs is sixth in the NFL in rushing yards with 907. He should be able to crack 1,000 before the season is over.
He’s also tied for sixth in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 10. Jacobs hasn’t been as consistent this year but he’s still a workhorse for the Raiders. He’s also improved as a receiver. He’s caught 33 balls for 238 yards. Jacobs hasn’t been helped by the fact that the Raiders’ offensive line has struggled to stay healthy. Even with those injuries, he’s played well. This should also be the first of many Pro Bowls for the young running back.
Notable Raiders Snubs
It’s certainly good news that Jacobs and Waller made their first Pro Bowl but there’s one egregious snub. The fact that center Rodney Hudson didn’t get selected is inexcusable. According to Pro Football Focus, he hasn’t given up a sack since 2017. He’s easily the best pass-blocking center in the NFL. Despite his dominance, Hudson is consistently overlooked. He should be in the Pro Bowl this year.
Other than Hudson, there weren’t any egregious snubs. An argument could be made that kicker Daniel Carlson deserved to be a Pro Bowler. He’s tied for second in the NFL in scoring and has only missed two of 30 field goal attempts this season. Justin Tucker got the nod but has more missed field goals (three) on fewer attempts (26).
READ NEXT: Ex-Raiders Starting LB Gets Brutally Honest About Paul Guenther