Las Vegas Raiders’ tight end Darren Waller was recently disrespected by Madden 21.
Darren Waller was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season. After seeing his career nearly destroyed by injuries and off-field issues, the Las Vegas Raiders gave Waller a golden opportunity to assume the starting role last year.
And he exceeded any and all expectations.
Waller finished the year with an incredible 90 catches for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns pacing all Raiders in both receptions and receiving yards. He also finished second in both categories among all NFL tight ends trailing just Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs.
By the end of the season, Waller had established himself as a legitimate top-five tight end placing himself close to the top-tier of tight ends including Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz.
This wasn’t a hot take either, this seemed to be the consensus opinion shared by most. At the very least, few debated his status as a top-five tight end after the season he had in 2019.
However, it appears as though EA Sports doesn’t agree with the consensus.
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The video game company has slowly been releasing ratings for the upcoming Madden 21 game and their top-10 tight end rankings were officially revealed on Friday.
Waller’s inclusion on the list wasn’t what was surprising, it was where he was ranked and just how low he was rated.
Despite being a top-two receiving tight end in 2019, Waller was given just an 85 overall which ranked him as the No. 10 tight end in the NFL. And it’s the players that are ahead of him that truly make no sense.
The players ranked ahead of Darren Waller highlight the level of disrespect.
Greg Olsen was ranked No. 9 with an 86 overall. The longtime Panthers tight end hasn’t recorded more than 600 yards in a season since 2016 and isn’t even guaranteed a starting job in Seattle this season.
Evan Engram was ranked No. 6 and given an 88 overall despite never recording more than 750 yards in a single season in his entire NFL career. And much like Waller, Engram struggles as a blocker so that rationale can’t exactly be used.
Meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski was given an insanely high 95 overall behind just Kittle and Kelce despite taking a year off from football. On top of that, it’s not as if Gronkowski was playing at a high level the last time we saw him on the gridiron.
It’s hard to argue that Gronkowski is a better tight end than Waller in 2020, let alone 10 overall points better.
In reality, Waller’s rating likely deserves to be closer to 90 around where someone like Austin Hooper was ranked. And he’s certainly better than guys like Olsen, Engram, and Gronkowski who were erroneously ranked ahead of him.
Darren Waller was one of the many players disrespected by Madden this year. Here’s to hoping that he can prove his doubters wrong with another standout season in 2020.