Bruce Arians Speaks About Jaelon Darden

May 1st, 2021

Bucs WR Jaelon Darden.

Yesterday, Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians said today the Bucs were going for special teams.

If the Bucs drafted Jaelon Darden for his return ability, his numbers in a Class AAA league doesn’t show it.

Darden was a dynamic receiver for North Texas. He had 19 touchdown catches and 1,190 yards receiving last year. His return numbers were meh. The last two seasons he averaged less than eight yards a punt return.

Speaking right after the pick on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Arians said Darden is a dual-threat in the return game, but Arians senses the Bucs have a steal of a receiver, when asked about Darden by SiriusXM NFL Radio host Jason Horowitz.

“Speed. You know, speed,” Arians said. “He reminds me a lot of John Brown and Emmanuel Sanders when I had them when they were young. [Darden is] fearless over the middle. Can really catch the ball away from his body like Emmanuel could. And he has great hands.

“With his return ability, he can really help us.”

Clearly if they traded up to get Darden, the Bucs see something in him.

Given the Bucs good fortune drafting receivers in recent years, this guy could be someone to watch out for.

You can never have enough speed.

37 Responses to “Bruce Arians Speaks About Jaelon Darden”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It seems like every year we pick a player like this who just doesn’t work out……maybe Darden will stick….hope so.

  2. BucEmUp Says:

    Wr was the last position we needed to draft. However, I just watched 5 minutes of footage on this kid and I font need to see anymore. I dont see how he lasted until the 4th round. I like this pick. Our depth at corner scares me, as well as ILB BUT….that is the game.

    Good pick and cannot wait to see this kid turn it on.

  3. The Daily Coroner Says:

    Maybe the improvement in special teams play would be to fire the special teams coach.

  4. Gordon Says:

    jAELON DARDEN is an outstanding player and if he had been on another more high quality team in football he would have been selected in the first round. Bruce Arians is a very smart man and made a great move to get Darden in the 4th round!!!

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    Kid looks like a winner. Plays and runs like one too.

  6. Pewter Power Says:

    Well Justin Watson Kees dropping down the depth chart. That dude had speed to turn and just never put it together good luck making the roster Watson

  7. TDTB Says:

    Unfortunately, they have to be prepared for a possible Godwin departure.

  8. Joe Says:

    Well Justin Watson Kees dropping down the depth chart.

    Good point.

  9. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    This kid could be special.

  10. Big Marlon B Says:

    @ Pewter Power

    I always thought Watson had the size, speed, and toughness to be a really good gunner (while he developed as a WR) But with 5 receivers ahead of him and now this pick, our annointed return man, it looks like his days as a Buc are finished. They won’t be carrying 7 receivers.

  11. GMG Says:

    Watched him play at UNT, so happy for him that he’s going to such a great team. You Bucs fans will love him. His YAC is insane, makes guys miss, just so elusive. TB12 has made careers for guys like him, couldn’t be going to a better team.

  12. SB Says:

    Love the kid’s acceleration and ankle breaking ability to stop on a dime and go the other way.

    Off point it is gonna be fun to see Ian Book beat out JW2 for the Saints starting QB position.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    Just read one scouting reporting that was drooling all over this guy. I know his 40-time is fine, but I haven’t had a chance to see his tape yet, but it sounds like I’m pads he plays really fast and is insanely quick. If you like the idea of players learning from veterans, this is a guy you’d pair with AB.

    One thing common in a few scouting reports I read is that this is a WR the Patriots would like — meaning this is a WR that Tom Brady will like, a guy who can get open on space, then make guys miss and pick up a lot of YAC.

    Open thing that doesn’t stand out is his return ability – he’s numbers are fine, but nothing special, but he also doesn’t have a ton of returns. But the fact he can return at all means that will be his role.

    Overall, I like this. This is a pick where you’re drafting for next year when AB isn’t here and who knows if Godwin is either. He seems to me like a legit WR, not just a punt return guy.

  14. David Says:

    I expect him to be the return man and nothing more.
    Don’t fumble.
    If he develops into a slot receiver over the next couple years, it’s a bonus.

    If his quickness and speed translate to the NFL and he breaks one once a year as a return guy and had a great average… awesome.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Think Watson is OK….remember we had Mickens…..he’s gone. Watson is still on his rookie contract & he tackles well on ST…..

  16. SB~LV Says:

    Scotty is faster but this kid has moves Scotty couldn’t touch with all his heart and soul. I think Jaelon is a more complete football player than one trick pony Miller. Only one will make the team and I would put my money on Jaelon

  17. BT Says:

    Tyreek Hill?

  18. lambchop Says:

    He said “Goodwin” in his zoom presser. LOL. Even AB said “Goodwin” when he joined the Bucs.

  19. Canabuc Says:

    My nickname after watching that video is Twitch!
    They call Tarik Cohen the joystick so I can’t use that here but is applicable.

    Can see a bunch a wide receiver screens and slants to him.
    Great pick! Adds a different dimension.
    Miller has long speed but this guy will be breaking ankles.

  20. Pa Privateer Says:

    Incredible speed and moves

  21. PSL Bob Says:

    Yeah, I see a buh bye coming for Mickens, although he did make some good moves during the playoffs (much better than during the regular season). I think Miller will be ok, because Darden’s going to be used primarily on ST. Unless of course, Brady wants to take him out for a spin during a regular season game or two.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    One report said Tyreek Hill without the leaping ability. Take it for what it’s worth. But I do like that punt returns are all way down the list on his positives – he’s a legit WR who, if he plays in space or does screens, should tear things up.

    Scotty is faster in a straight line but doesn’t do much of anything else – all those gadget plays they run for him never go anywhere or lose yards, like in the SB. Miller is good as a deep ball threat, but he lacks quickness. It sounds like this guy is here to bring in some of that quickness – and mimic AB as a future WR threat.

  23. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    Amazing moves and short area quickness. Maybe they play him in the slot along with CG.

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    Watson stinks. How many INTs this season were because of him? I know at least two, both pick sixes against the Saints and Chargers were because of that worthless waste. There’s a reason he wasn’t playing WR hardly at all once the team had any other healthy option available. Good bye, can’t cut you soon enough.

  25. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    It’s only North Texas, but tape don’t lie! I like this pick!


    What is wrong with using AB or Tyler as ur return guy? I don’t get it.

  27. Walter Says:

    He’s here to replace Mickens, and that’s definitely a good thing

  28. SB~LV Says:

    My nickname is Hammer

  29. SB~LV Says:

    He will also play gunner on punt coverage

  30. BradyBucs Says:


    Regardless of level of competition someone plays against, I think it’s often important to look at his own team’s WINNING RECORD.

    Darden was mega-productive on a team that SUCKED. They had a 4-6 record last year.

    His return stats were so-so, but again, it can’t be overlooked that it was also on a CRAPPY TEAM. Football is still a team game. If you aren’t getting decent blocking from the Special Teams unit, you’re not going to have much of a chance to make returns.

    Darden is INSANELY TWITCHY. He’s a very, very rare athlete. If he was only a little bigger he’d be a 1st Round pick.

    He’s a gamble for sure, but in the 4th round he’s worth the risk to see how he may turn out.

    CAN YOU IMAGINE A LB TRYING TO COVER HIM? It’s like when Edelman dominated that one Super Bowl. When someone is so twitchy that they can flash open in the slot immediately off the line, that’s so hard to cover and stop.

    Scotty Miller’s big advantages are DEEP against defenders. Daron’s advantages are immediately off the line.

  31. Brandon Says:

    Watson is not getting replaced by Darden, Mickens is. Watson is a gunner and backup WR at all 3 spots.. X, Z, and slot. Darden is strictly a returner and outside
    /gadget guy. If Watson doesn’t make the roster it will be because we have a better gunner.

  32. Brandon Says:

    May 1st, 2021 at 3:12 pm
    What is wrong with using AB or Tyler as ur return guy? I don’t get it


    What don’t you get about not putting a highly valued WR or a guy with no return experience at returner? I don’t get why you don’t get it.

  33. Rod Munch Says:

    BradyBucs Says:

    Regardless of level of competition someone plays against, I think it’s often important to look at his own team’s WINNING RECORD.


    Steve Young was 3-16 with the Bucs.

    One of the least important things to look at is winning percentage.

    Football is not a game where a single player, in particular a WR, can make a bad team into a good team. You can be an all-world WR, but if your QB sucks, you’re not going to get the ball to show how good you are. Also if a team has a terrible o-line and/or bad weapons, your QB is going to look like trash. Football isn’t basketball, one player can’t dominate. Even someone as remarkable as Mahomes can’t win it all on his own.

  34. firethecannons Says:

    so far it sounds like Darden is Devonta Smith on a bad college team am I right does he have speed?

  35. Bucman Says:

    I would love to see him line up in the backfield and catch a dump off in the open field. Hopefully, he won’t have to be blocking a blitzing line backer first.

  36. D-Rok Says:

    That fast twitch tho! We shall find out by mid-season if he really is that fast / quick against all-world talent at D in the NFL. If he’s THIS quick against our secondary, holy cow. Too small to last too long, but for 3-5 years? He’s too quick to stop a 5 yard quick slant. Excited to see what he brings. Go Bucs!

  37. Ed Says:

    This guy AVERAGED 12 yards per return his first two years in college and rarely returned it after he became the Main Man for his final two seasons. What BA commented about him is that while his 4.44 40 speed is not ‘super elite’, they were more impressed by his times in the shuttle and agility drills, which showed his abilities to ‘Stop on a Dime’ and then accelerate away leaving Defenders grasping air. He also caught 31 TD passes his final two years including 19 in the shortened 2020 season. If BA compared him to a ‘Young” Emanuel Saunders, that is all you really need to know.