Massive Waller Would Add Huge Target, Tremendous Late Value For Steelers

There aren’t many folks 6-foot-6 and 238 pounds who run a 4.46 40-yard dash walking the earth, but one of them is available, perhaps late, in the 2015 NFL Draft, and is a prospect who could add valuable depth and perhaps a whole lot more to the receiving corps of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The year before Darren Waller arrived at Georgia Tech in 2010, star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas left for the NFL. During the summer of 2011, Waller witnessed an exquisite car pull up outside Bobby Dodd Stadium, and out popped “Megatron.” This goes to speak of the recent wealth of wide receiver talent at the school. Calvin Johnson had some great advice for Waller, a safety who was trying to become a wide receiver in coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense.

“He said, ‘Take everything in as you can,’ because I never really played receiver before,” Waller said. “And always have confidence in yourself no matter how hard the learning curve may be. Or you may not be seeing coverages as quickly as you want to and things along those lines. Your routes may not be as good but just stay at it and know you have the athletic ability to do it.”

Waller adjusted to his new position, but never had more than 500 yards in a season. In fact, in his four seasons there, he only recorded 51 catches. However, on talent alone, he’s poised to be the next GT receiver drafted, and his imposing frame is eerily similar to that of Johnson, the game’s best jumbo receiver. At the combine, he ran his 40 in 4.46 seconds, posted a 37-inch vertical and had a 60-yard shuttle time of 11.35 seconds, ranking near the top of all the receivers there.

However, despite all the intangibles, he still is who he is, and that’s a project. Georgia Tech, known more for their ground attack, doesn’t have an NFL route tree, and Waller said most of his routes there were either comebacks, posts or curls.

“Not just accepting having good routes for a big guy but having good routes overall, period,” said Waller when asked about his transition to Sundays.

However, when facing a press corner looking to jam him at the line, he def possesses the physical ability to handle it readily. An invite to the East-West Shrine Game, Waller manhandled smaller defensive backs in drills. NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said, “even when he is covered, he has ‘uncovered’ himself” because of his sheer size and strength.

The Steelers got a large, downfield receiving threat in the fourth round of last year’s draft in Martavis Bryant. The thought of adding Waller to the receiving corps, and forming a “twin tower” dynamic with Bryant would be very much to the liking of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. As we all know, he loves his big receivers. Waller could have a profound effect on the team’s red zone woes as well, an area that could definitely be improved heading into the 2015 season. With stud runner Le’Veon Bell missing the first few games, the passing game may have to shoulder more of the load, and adding an intriguing talent like Waller certainly wouldn’t hurt.

  • Sabbie

    I am on board with him late or Jesse James in the middle rounds.

  • CW

    I’d love to see them add both. James in the 4th and Waller in the 6th

  • Sabbie

    I realize that he is not TE by the way.

  • CW

    Yeah, adding another wide receiver late this year makes sense as does adding a tall tight end.

  • Sabbie

    I am a huge fan of James.

  • newguy68

    Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!

    Even more so than Kenny Bell.

  • 20Stoney

    I wish we had about 15 picks. I want too many of these guys.

  • NinjaMountie

    Does he really drop that far with those attributes?

  • Ike Evans

    If we draft him…. He’ll probably be good…. How many busts at WR do we have in 15 years boys? 2? Limas and troy Edwards?


    Probably teams with immediate starter needs at receiver will pass over him, but I wonder as well. Likely not in the top three rounds though. Let’s hope he drops into our hands later.

  • H.K. northern cali

    to bad he can’t return punts!

  • Bob

    It bites that every time I really start to like a “late round guy,” he starts generating buzz and moving up boards.

  • Matt Manzo

    Yes! I say pull the trigger early! Sounds like a browns-or-ravens-steal-from-us-guy!

  • TroymanianDevil

    Great measurables. Either him or Kenny Bell would be great value late in the draft.

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s a good point! We’re gonna have a bunch of receivers and only our best guy can return punts?

  • Matt Manzo

    I’d really like to trade back this year for a bunch of mid rounders!

  • H.K. northern cali

    This is off subject alittle. The only player I want us to move up to draft is danny shelton. Anyone else agree?

  • michaelinchains

    Lots of potential w this kid in our system & Steelers FO has a tendency for Georgia talent just sayin

  • PittsburghSports

    This guy can’t run routes or catch contested balls even with his height advantage. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out of football in 2 years or less. No thanks. Give me a WR that’s 6 feet or less and knows had to play the position.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    We are in the minority, probably. Personally I don’t want to sit at 22. I’d say Dolphins’ 15th pick is tradeable and we should be able to trade away Sean Spence, Shelton will fix many of our problems including Jones’. I don’t mind Malcom Brown, he’s not far off from Shelton, probably can play the zone better as well.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Spaeth, Bryant and Waller in the Red Zone along with Heath and Bell. Try to stop that!

  • danny

    willie reid would be the only other one!

  • steelster

    Malcom brown is the guy I want.

  • steelster

    Tall isn’t always the answer. Getting open is.

  • steelster

    Would like to see a profile on Danielle Hunter please.

  • Michael Pearce

    I want him in the Black and Gold.

  • Michael Amaro

    I agree trade back to the beginning of the second grab Kevin Johnson and rebuild in the middle rounds.

  • DoctorNoah

    This woukd be fun but I highly doubt we get him. A lkt of eyes will be on hin and I dont know how we would be abke to keep him on the 53. He’d get picked off the PS.

  • michaelinchains

    Cant deny being bigger helps tremendously in todays NFL..besides Antonio the other top receivers are well over 6′!

  • H.K. northern cali

    The more large targets for ben in the redzone for ben the better. That being said. I believe H.Millers replacement will come in next yrs draft. Not this one. I can see them taking te-s.s. 1-2 or s.s -te 1-2. Miller and troy p. Replacements!

  • steelster

    Justin Brown and Derrick Moye.

  • michaelinchains

    I was referring to the top tier receivers in the WHOLE league being well over 6 feet with exception of AB who is just a freak

  • steelster

    They have Bryant. They can get a tall guy at te. They need a 4th or 5th wr that can play special teams. I doubt this guy can. Diggs from Maryland can return punts and kicks.

  • VaDave

    Count me in!

  • steelster

    The article fails to mention that he was suspended twice for violating team rules. He missed the season openers for 2013 and 2014.

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s kinda important! Might be a knuckle-head?

  • Matt Manzo

    Hah! How long have we been looking for a kick returner? Sense Randle El?!

  • Toddy Bravo

    He’s a consideration for a late round pick. Personally, I like Ty Montgomery, Austin Hill, Antwan Goodley and Rannell Hall in that round 5-7 range.

  • mike

    Does ne1 think or not think he can put on 15-20 lbs by 2016 and b a jimmy graham type replacement for Heath? I know we need our t.e.’s to block too but who would complain abt him as the #2 t.e. Picked up in the 6-7th round?

  • LucasY59

    How does a team like Georgia Tech (that doesn’t throw the ball) get the receivers that it does? C.Johnson and D.Thomas are two of the top receivers in the NFL. S.Hill was a bust, but that just helps keep Waller from being overrated like him, I have a feeling he could go as early as the 3rd rd, but I wouldn’t pick him until the 5th and ideally the 6th comp pick, Smelter is another guy from GT that could be good and because of injury could be a 7th rd pick or UDFA

  • LucasY59

    That should make Ben happy and red zone TD’s increase

  • HiVul

    As much as I love the idea of a 6’6″ WR as a late round prospect, he wouldn’t exactly be ideal because he can’t PR/KR. It makes a lot more sense if we cut DHB, but DHB does play kick coverage. Maybe they can find a CB that can also add to the return game, seems to be rare though.

  • mokhkw

    We also have Goodwin & Washington on the PS, both are 6’3″+. I can’t see the point in adding another tall project.

    With his size, I’m guessing he goes in the 4th, not the 6-7th Rd like some are hoping.

  • steeltown

    I mentioned the other day BW Webb returned punts in college at William & Marry and did a pretty adequate job. I doubt we’ll see him in the mix, but if I was a coach I would certainly give him the chance to win the job.

  • steeltown

    Intriguing player. But I would prefer we draft someone late that has some return ability.


    Megatron came from the Chan Gailey era I think…and Bebe I think was also recruited by Gailey (conventional OFC) but to answer your question GT was successful signing these tall, but very raw kids out of HS with the idea that they would be the main WR target in his triple option OFC. And, because they play n the ACC they would still get drafted if they had the talent…that part has proved to be true and I think that’s how he’s kept the pipeline flowing.

    Bebe was just like Hill, tall, athletic, but raw…Hill just went to the wrong team (NYJ) initially…had he been in DEN with Manning, he’s probably be a star too.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I don mind Malcom he’s pretty good with pass rushing, but when talking about a guy that will boost and elevate Shazier and even Heyward both pass rushing to next level, Shelton is that guy. Definitely a good year to pick a nose tackle.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    And I agree with you. But I think it would work better than last year’s RZ offense.

  • Ryan

    Take Waller in the 6th. Imagine him, Bryant and Heath all in the red zone (also a young TE if we draft one) that would be deadly.