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Will Darden replace Antonio Brown?

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Usually, controversies involving Antonio Brown arise from his own behavior. The latest issue regarding Brown flows from something other than anything he’s done.

Three weeks after Brown agreed to terms on a return to the Buccaneers, Brown still isn’t part of the roster. Coach Bruce Arians disclosed that Brown had knee surgery on Tuesday, and that he has yet to pass a physical.

Until Brown passes a physical, he won’t be on the team. It’s hard not to be curious about the timing of the news of Brown’s agreement to return to the Bucs — one day before the 2021 draft began — and the fact that the Bucs traded up in round four to get North Texas receiver Jaelon Darden. A cynic would say that the Bucs struck the deal with Brown the day before the draft so that other teams wouldn’t think they’d be looking to draft another receiver. The fact that they gave up a sixth-round pick to move up to get Darden shows that they definitely were targeting the position.

read more: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/05/19/antonio-brown-situation-raises-several-questions/

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The one thing that is certain with Antonio Brown is uncertainty.  He has been anything but reliable the last few years (off of the field) and adding injury to insult only complicates his chances of being with the Bucs next season.  Even if Brown is on the roster next season, anything is possible with him finding a way off it during the year.  And Brown may not have much time left after next season, especially with the Bucs.  Darden just needs to keep his nose to the ground and keep grinding.  Hard work will pay off and he could step into a sizable roll if given the chance on Sundays.  

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As a Bucs fan, the Darden addition doesn’t have much to do with AB. They returned all 22 starters and every key backup from a Super Bowl winning team. They also had a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense. The only opportunity for playing time and a roster spot basically is special teams as they needed to improve that. They love Darden for what he can offer in the return game but as of now he is WR6 or WR7. I wouldn’t read into the 6th round pick to trade up. They traded up because they really like Darden, but also a 6th round pick wasn’t going to make this team. Bruce Arians stated on the pewter report podcast (he also raves about Darden. It is a good listen) that AB got a small knee scope done and they are still signing him. They will design ways to get Darden the ball on offense, but they have 2 top-10 WRs, AB, and 2 other really good young WRs in front of Darden.

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Some nice quotes from Arians...



Considering they traded up in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft to make sure they landed him, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers obviously think they have something special in rookie wide receiver and return specialist Jaelon Darden.

In fact, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians sees plenty of potential in Darden, going to far as to compare him to two of the best receivers he coached while he was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I go back to Pittsburgh, we picked Santonio Holmes first, we picked Emmanuel Sanders, we picked Mike Wallace in the third, we got Antonio Brown in the fifth or sixth,” Arians said on a recent episode of the Pewter Report Podcast. “Guys who have great quickness getting in and out of cuts. No wasted movement, great hands, 40 times don’t have to be 4.3, but they play really fast.”

“When you look at Jaelon on tape, he plays really fast,” Arians continued.  “And he catches the ball so easily away from his body so he can play fast. He’s not thinking about catching the ball. Those type of guys – Jaelon really reminds me a lot of Emmanuel [Sanders] when Emmanuel was a rookie. He’s got some AB in him too.”

Source: https://bucswire.usatoday.com/2021/05/23/nfl-draft-tampa-bay



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