With the 204th overall pick, the Ravens closed out their 2015 NFL draft with the selection of boom or bust wide receiver Darren Waller.
Waller is considered raw but very talented by the team’s front office, and the wideout from Georgia Tech could provide an impact in the red zone in 2015.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome raved about the 6-6, 240-lb Waller, particularly his size which, Oz thinks could be a matchup nightmare for opposing secondaries.
“We all covered big receivers, and [Darren] Waller, I spent about 15, 20 minutes on the phone with him today,” remarked Newsome during the Ravens post-draft press conference. “And to get a big receiver – another big target for Joe [Flacco] – a guy we know … We know how tough it is facing receivers that are that type of size down in the red. He brings all of that.”
Waller played in 12 games as a senior at Georgia Tech including eight starts, catching 26 passes for 442 yards (17.0 ypc) and six touchdowns.
Big players make big plays in big time games, and Waller’ performance against Mississippi State (five rec, 114 yards, 1 TD) in the Orange Bowl likely helped move him up draft boards despite his suspensions for violating team rules.
The Ravens felt assured that whatever happened at Georgia Tech is in the past and would no longer be an issue with their 6th round pick.
“I actually talked to him at the East-West [Shrine Game] about that, and it was one of the things I hit him on – me and another scout from another team – and we did a pretty good job getting after him,” stated Joe Hortiz, the Ravens director of college scouting. “He has made some mistakes when he was younger, and he was honest and upfront about it and didn’t hide from it.
“He told us about his plan, and how he’s dealing with it, how he has continued to deal with it,” Hortiz added. “I came away impressed with how mature he became and his plan going forward. Sometimes you go into an interview with some of these guys and you’re thinking you’re ready to walk away and use it as the final dagger, and it was the opposite.”
While Waller will have his hands full when it comes to making the roster given the amount of receivers on the team already, he will provide another piece to an interesting battle to watch throughout training camp.
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