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Jaelon Darden - Bugler Profile

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Dane Bugler huge Draft Guide is now available.  You can receive it for free with a subscription to The Athletic. 

Below is an excerpt of his summary for Darden.  He did make one huge mistake:  Jaelon would not be be the first WR pick for North Texas.  He would be the third. 


SUMMARY: A three-year starter at North Texas, Darden played the A wide receiver position in head coach Seth Littrell’s spread system, lining up inside and outside.  He leaves Denton as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (230), receiving yards (2,782) and receiving touchdowns (38) and is attempting to be the program’s first draft pick since 2004 (and the first wide receiver draft pick in school history). Darden has electric feet to win off the line, separate out of his breaks or create with the ball in his hands — only DeVonta Smith and Amari Rodgers had more yards after the catch (576) in 2020. He relies more on speed than seasoning as a route runner and will struggle to be a ball winner in tight windows at the next level. Overall, Darden is obviously undersized, which will limit his role potential in the NFL, but his foot quickness and home run gear will leave defenders in his dust. He projects similar to Jakeem Grant when he was coming out of Texas Tech.

GRADE: 5th-6th Round


Edited by NorthTexan95
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My guess is he goes in the mid-late 4th or even the 5th round. A lot of NFL teams still look at football the way they did 30 years ago and a small receivers draft stock will always take a hit. The history of drafted wide receivers under 5'8 is also not a good one. Jaelon does have an issue with drops and smaller hands/catch radius. 

I believe he can absolutely play at the next level, but he's not without his warts and I've grown a lot less bullish on him being a late day 2 pick in the compensatory range.

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