Waller was suspended for the first four games of last season for his initial violation and now faces a year out of the league for his latest. The 24-year-old will be allowed to participate in preseason practices and games, but his punishment will begin once the regular season does. A sixth-round pick in 2015, Waller caught 10 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns last season. His absence -- which follows Dennis Pitta's most recent hip injury and subsequent release -- figures to allow Nick Boyle to see more action behind Ben Watson, Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams at tight end in the buildup to this season.
Waller was one of three tight ends on the team dealing with an injury, but it does not appear to have been a serious issue. His participation in minicamp seems to indicate he will be healthy entering training camp. He figures to compete to make the final roster and provide depth at tight end.
Waller (undisclosed) was sidelined during OTAs, ESPN's Jamison Hensley reports.
Waller joins a long list of Ravens tight ends that are dealing with injuries as Ben Watson (Achilles), Crockett Gillmore (shoulder) and Maxx Williams (knee) weren't available for OTAs either. However, it isn't clear what kind of injury he's dealing with or if he'll be back in time for training camp.
Waller finished the season with 10 receptions on 17 targets for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens had a logjam at tight end for much of the season, with Dennis Pitta serving as the only reliable contributor at the position on a weekly basis. Waller didn't make his season debut until Week 5 and didn't see his first targets until his fourth appearance. That said, Waller began to capitalize on his limited opportunities as the season wore on, snaring just under 60 percent of his targets and converting two of them for touchdowns. Although his target volume and overall production don't jump off the page, it's worth noting that seven of his 17 targets (41 percent) came in the red zone. While that isn't much of a sample size, it's worth comparing that to Pitta's red zone target rate of 10.7 percent. Waller has the size (6-6, 245) and testing numbers, which include a 4.46 40-yard dash and 37-in vertical jump, to make him a red zone threat in the Ravens' passing attack. Given that quarterback Joe Flacco will not have major targets Steve Smith and possibly Kamar Aiken at his disposal, Waller could have some deep sleeper potential in 2017.
Quarterback Joe Flacco showed some trust in the young tight end Monday as he went to Waller on back-to-back plays in the red zone in the third quarter, the second of which resulted in a touchdown. While Waller may have more pass-catching upside than counterpart Nick Boyle, Boyle still has the edge on him in terms of playing time thanks to his utility as a run blocker. Waller's touchdown Monday may earn him a slight uptick in snaps, but Dennis Pitta remains the
|3||9/24/17||@ JAC||9:30 am|
|5||10/8/17||@ OAK||4:05 pm|
|7||10/22/17||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|9||11/5/17||@ TEN||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 10|
|11||11/19/17||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|14||12/10/17||@ PIT||8:30 pm|
|15||12/17/17||@ CLE||1:00 pm|