The Tampa Bay Buccaneers love all their new draft picks, but there is one player that stands out to Tom Brady. During an interview with NFL Network, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians revealed Brady is “really excited about getting Jaelon Darden.”
“He’s really excited about getting Jaelon Darden,” Arians explained. “I mean, you talk about an explosive guy. He reminds me so much of when I had Emmanuel Sanders when he was young and John Brown. Kind of a combination of those guys.”
The Buccaneers snagged the North Texas receiver in the fourth round after trading up for the No. 129 selection. Darden joins an incredibly deep Bucs receiver group which includes Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and Scotty Miller. It will be interesting to see how soon Darden will see the field given the talented Bucs receivers already on the roster.
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Darden Broke Multiple Records at North Texas
The speedy wide receiver ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash time. The North Texas receiver had a stellar senior season notching 74 receptions for 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns. Darden set multiple records at North Texas but there are concerns about his 5’7 1/2″ height. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler provided an overview of Darden’s pro potential in his annual draft guide.
“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),” Brugler noted. “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.”
Brady Had No Problem With the Bucs Drafting Trask
The Buccaneers turned heads by selecting former Florida quarterback Kyle Trask with their second-round pick. All indications are Brady had no problem with the selection, and the Bucs gave the legendary quarterback a heads up that the team could be drafting a signal-caller.
“Oh Yeah, Tom and I talk all the time,” Arians told NFL Network. “He’s texting me back and forth, ‘Who do you think the next pick is going to be?’ He’s all in, man. Anything that makes our football team better for now and the future. Tom just wants to win. We talked about this, oh, a month or so ago, that this could possibly happen if the right guy fell.”
Tampa Bay is hoping Trask can be the team’s quarterback of the future but not any time soon. Bucs general manager Jason Licht emphasized it is Brady’s job as long as he wants it. Brady is under contract with Tampa Bay for the next two seasons.
“Oh, I think it will go very smooth,” Licht said in his day two post-draft press conference. “Tom’s the ultimate team guy, and I don’t think Tom is worried about anybody taking his job. We had some casual conversations throughout the last few weeks that a scenario might come up where we could take a quarterback. I don’t have many conversations with Tom about the draft, but he was totally fine. He wants what’s best for the team. So, Tom’s going to play as long as Tom wants to play. He’s earned that right.”