May 3rd, 2021

Who did the Bucs steal?

Over at Yahoo!, there is a non-Bucs draft hater who decided to speak with over 100 FBS coaches — Joe looked it up. That’s Division-I coaches.

Joe can never keep straight what the hell “FBS” and “FCS” is; the old divisions-categories worked fine for decades — to find out what players were steals where they were selected in the NFL draft.

And it seems, per Pete Thamel, Bucs receiver Jaelon Darden was among those whose teams got a steal.

WR Jaelon Darden (North Texas), Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fourth round – “He’s teeny [listed at 5-foot-9, 174 at UNT], but he’s a great little player. His route running is impressive, and he’s got speed, good hands and was a game-changer. He can return punts, too. I just loved watching him play.”

Joe understands the knee-jerk reaction of “he didn’t play in the SEC” nonsense. Sure, in a perfect world, you prefer a guy to prove his worth against the big boys.

When it comes to receivers, there are all kinds of good ones from small schools. Shoot, the Bucs have one (Antonio Brown) who might see his bust in Canton. He played in the MAC. For that matter, everyone’s pet cocker spaniel, Scotty Miller, came from the MAC, too.

The receivers Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians compared Darden to, John Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, both came from small schools. Brown went to Pittsburg State and Sanders went to SMU.

Joe doesn’t know of anyone comparing Pittsburg State to Alabama or SMU to LSU.

If a guy can ball, he can ball.

70 Responses to “Thievery”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    He’ll get his chance. Will be very interesting to watch him in pre-season. Nice looking potential.

  2. cmurda Says:

    For that matter, everyone’s pet cocker spaniel, Scotty Miller, came from the MAC, too.

    Whoa. Easy there. That’s the man that made the play of the 2020 Bucs playoffs. He needs to be a tougher breed at least. Jack Russell?

  3. Ron says Says:

    The key is for him to get on the team and that is going to be first with special teams and then he will have an opportunity to show his worth. The main thing other than learning our scheme is to maintain and learn how to maintain his health and conditioning to handle the rigors of the NFL.

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    Where did Jerry Rice go to school?

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    @cmurda: Pit Yorkie?

    (I have a Jack. She is tougher than woodpecker lips…)

  6. SB~LV Says:

    Billy “White Shoes”

  7. BuucccNASTY Says:

    Cobra boy, smaller D2 school. Same as Cooper Kupp. Like joe said. If he can ball, he can ball. We’ll find out

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Small player/small school/conference……that is why he was a 4th round pick instead of a 2nd….
    Obviously, the Bucs wanted him badly enough to trade up to get him……many Licht trade ups have worked well….Wirfs, Marpet, Cappa…….Roberto No….

  9. rrsrq Says:

    A small school story
    Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley) all time leading receiver HOF
    Walter Payton (Jackson State) – at one point all time leading rusher HOF
    Michael Strahan (Texas Southern) – most sacks in a season HOF
    Ken Riley (Florida A & M) 3rd all-time in INTs – should be a HOFer
    Let’s get it Darden, wear that chip and follow AB’s work ethic

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    The scouting report on this guy is a bit all over the place. For example the official NFL site had him as 6th rounder I believe, but then I read another scouting report where they were comparing him to Tyreek Hill, just without the leaping ability, and had him as a 2nd rounder.

    He ran a 4.46 at his pro-day, which I think was a little slower than expected, people thought he was in 4.3 terrority, but we got Scotty Miller for straight line speed. Darden needs to be quick, and PFF says this, “He displayed phenomenal short-area quickness, posting a 6.66-second three-cone drill (93rd) and 3.98-second short shuttle (97th).”

    Darden should be the guy running all those gadget plays that Scotty Miller always loses yardage on.

    If Darden does in fact win the punt return job, he’s going to be active each week, and in that case they can work him into the game for some gadget plays and screens.

  11. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    North Texas wings it all over and I am guessing he comes from a HS in TX that throws it all over the yard so this kid was overlooked with the big schools due to his size but it all washes out in the NFL especially if he gets a chance; look at Tom Brady

  12. Show Me the TDs Says:

    How about a Scottish Terrier? They’re already know as “Scotties”.

  13. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    He weighs 7 pounds more than the Alabama WR who won the Heisman Trophy, and is 4” shorter, which means sneaker and more agile. I like it.

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    Dusthty Rhothdes – I read up on him after the draft, and he was a dual-threat QB in high school. He committed to Grambling, before decommitting, then he commited to UNLV, then he decommitted, then he had offers from a number of mid-tier schools and ended up at North Texas, although it doesn’t say why he choose the school or why he was committing and decommitting.

    But the fact he was a high school QB – albeit a limited one, had less than 700 yards passing I believe – makes his involvement in gadget plays even more interesting.

  15. Pewtee941 Says:

    So who do we lose? Mickens or Watson? I feel like Watson is better in coverage on special teams. But I think Mickens is a better receiver. Also Darden would be taking Mickens returner roles on special teams.

  16. MadMax Says:

    I agree, Licht found his sleeper, im jealous, i missed on this kid.

  17. Dewey Selmon Says:

    I watched his highlight/hype/self promotion video. Jitterbug is the first word i thought of.

  18. Hope springs eternal Says:

    I agree with Rod. Scotty has great straight line speed but does not shake free on screens. Not a shifty runner and doesn’t seem to have the instincts to set up his blockers. Fly patterns yes. Shifty cuts and instant acceleration no. I like Scotty and if defenders hesitate he is gone. But Darden can make openings happen with quick shifts of direction and instant acceleration.

  19. Robert Says:

    he’s a concussion waiting to happen at that size. remember that returner we had who was great for a while about 10 years back, until he got LAID out on a kick return. Never heard of him after that.

  20. SOEbuc Says:

    Depth and ST was what this team needs. Not a bunch of impact players coming in to start. Champions have good depth. Another nice job Jason.

  21. catcard202 Says:

    Darden is a poor man’s Desean Jackson – when thinking of an appropriate COMP…He plays faster than his Pro Day 4.46 on tape & just makes athletic plays all over the field.

    He may find his 2021 role primarily as Bucs PR/KR specialist. But he has all the tools to be a significant Slot WR contributor in 2022 & beyond…. A very good value pick for defending SB Champs FO in the 4th Rd.

  22. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    AB in Canton? When did they open a brothel there?

  23. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Some might think back to one of the worst draft mistakes ever for the Bucs in 2008 WR Dexter Jackson out of Appalachian State in the late 2nd round. Jackson was on the roster the whole year , but never caught a pass and rarely saw the field. What I remember about him is that he just looked plain scared , and at 165 lbs. dripping wet , I can’t say as I blame him.
    However , after watching the film , we can all relax. Darden has incredible quicks to get to top speed in two strides and he makes people miss by jamming on the brakes and turning it up. He has incredible twitch. Darden will add instant excitement and the first tackler will rarely bring him down. Great pick and will be here for years.

  24. SB~LV Says:

    Darden is nothing like Desean Jackson!

  25. Ben green Says:

    Punt returner?

  26. SOEbuc Says:

    And we love Scotty but he’s a one trick pony downfield but let’s be honest, he cannot fill in week in and week out. Another possible big position for what is already the most dominant starting and depth WR Corp in the NFL.

  27. Cainishere Says:

    Good kid with loads of upside. Won’t see much action in the wr roundup but his returns may be of interest.

  28. lambchop Says:

    It’s not about the school, it’s about the size. He needs to bulk up a bit. And not everyone is AB. AB has a bigger repertoire than speed.

  29. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    He ran a 4.46- 40 yard dash at his pro day. He may be quick and agile, but that’s not blazing fast in today’s NFL. In other words, he may get some decent returns, but do NOT expect him to be running back any punts, kick-offs, or long receptions (unless coverage is blown) for TD’s. He’ll be a good slot receiver, hopefully great, but that’s it, and I can live with that from a 4th rounder.

  30. SB~LV Says:

    His game is not top end speed…he is very very fast but more than that is his first step cut and acceleration , he cone drill was blazing fast !
    Like Muhammad Ali said..”Float like a buttery fly..sting like a bee ”
    or even better

  31. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    Cobraboy I have a Jack too. Inexhaustible motor, takes the top off the defense, and talks constant trash.

  32. SB Says:

    Nice Vernon Heargraves quote at the end Joe! 🙂

  33. windbaggery Says:

    This guy breaks opponents’ ankles. One of the shiftiest guys I’ve seen.

  34. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    I love the pick but I am not sure his special-teams return ability is all that. If i recall, his numbers weren’t all that great and I have yet to see ANY returns on his highlight reels. I think Winfield had more return highlights in college than Darden.

  35. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Devin Hester 4.41
    Brandon Tatte 4.52
    Cordarelle Patterson 4.42
    Jaydon Mickens 4.54

    He’s certainly in the ballpark……I think his speed is secondary to his ability to shift quickly and make tacklers miss.

    Now….looking at those numbers….Imagine Devin White with a 4.42

  36. Bucamania Says:

    Darden has some unreal shiftiness that helps him avoid the big hits. You hear announcers talking about his uncanny ability to avoid contact. While he’s small, Jaelon is pretty jacked btw. Can’t wait to see what he can do with some quick tosses from Brady.

  37. SOEbuc Says:

    It’s all about shifting the speed through your body on good routes. Chris Godwin in the slot might be the best route runner in the NFL. Let’s do it BIG Jaelon!!!

  38. SlyPirate Says:

    Dante Hall was 5’8 – 185

  39. SB~LV Says:

    Another thing about the combine 40 times especially for the top drafted players, they pay a ton of money prepping and fine tuning everything they are tested for. Give Darden 6 weeks of training and his 40 time could drop a few 1/10’s easy

  40. Fred mcneil Says:

    Robert, I remember that guy. His nickname was peanut.

  41. Cobraboy Says:

    For skill guys, especially DB’s and WR’s, 40 times from a track stance is meaningless. WR’s should run from a standing position with one move required, and DB’s from facing forward, then turning to run.

    Much more meaningful metrics.

  42. Fred mcneil Says:

    I don’t remember his real name, the panthers knocked him out cold. Dirty hit.

  43. mark2001 Says:

    Sounds like if he was a tenth of a second faster in the forty, an inch taller, and a few pounds heaver, he would be a second version of Tyreek.

  44. Fred mcneil Says:

    Oh yeah, Clifton Smith.

  45. CalBucsFan Says:

    Hey Joe, I’ve owned cocker spaniels before and I would guess that Scotty would rather be compared to a greyhound, or even a cheetah, since they way faster than any spaniel could ever be!

  46. David Says:

    Step 1 for him… Catch the kick/punt and don’t fumble.
    Step 2… Be decisive and have a good return average.
    Step 3… Break one your rookie year and you’ll have a job for the next 3 years
    Step 4… Soak up the offense to take over the slot when Brown leaves

  47. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    When this young man can get to top speed within two steps off the line and make his cuts at full speed, his worth on this team will be more than on special teams. He made the greatest block ever seen without even touching his man. Guys covering him will have their hands full. His highlights show enough that he will be a big redzone threat because he takes inside passes to the house. This offense will really be explosive once he learns how to play at the NFL level. There is absolutely no comparison between him and Miller. Miller cannot take a five yard pass and make it into a 35 yard td, this young man can. You can see he is supremely confident in his abilities, if there is any comparison for him I would say a wolf.

  48. AMI_Chris Says:

    How many times have we drafted some no-name shlemiel from a Division 8 school and have been told: “He can help us in the return game”?

  49. SB~LV Says:

    David Big 99

  50. BT Says:

    Star on the forehead for the picture of the Joker.

  51. Panthers suck! Says:

    A few pounds lighter than Warrick Dunn. If he can avoid the squared up hits like Dunn used to then he will be fine.

  52. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’ve had 3 Cocker Spaniels

    Joe Cocker
    & Moses (Mo Cocker)

    I can tell you only that they are faster than I am…..and you don’t want one of them to bite you.

  53. SB~LV Says:

    Tom Brady is going to love Darden !
    Find this highlight reel on the YTube
    Shiftiest Player in College Football – Jaelon Darden

  54. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It does seem like every year we pick one of the smaller speed guys with great expectations in the return game.

    I can’t recall picking one this high though.

    It’s sort of like betting the longshot……once in a great while your’s wins!!!

  55. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    How soon we forget the BADDDDD Dexter Jackson from Appalachian State. Didn’t we pick him in the 2nd Round?

  56. mark2001 Says:

    His time in the short shuttle was 3.96 , Hills 4.06. His 3 cone drill 6.66, Hills 6.53. So no matter how you cut it, you are talking about a guy that can break ankles, and disrupt the defense. He has good speed…and if he has good hands, as reported, he should be a real asset.

  57. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I’ll watch the games every chance I get. I’m not as into the off season stuff as I once was…too much other stuff happening in my life. But I can hardly wait to see the team play again!

    The new guys all have their opportunities…it’s up to them to make the best of them now. Will be interesting to see how they do.

    The kicker signed is interesting. I realize he won’t make the roster this year (or next barring injury), but if he sticks to the practice squad he might work out in the long term. 93% of his field goals made…not too bad.

  58. David Says:

    It’s amazing how many people think a 40 time at a combine matters.
    Watch the game tape.
    He is quick and fast.
    Didn’t see anyone catching him from behind.

  59. SB~LV Says:

    I love how he sets up the defending creating a spot he will break into!
    I also noticed that he lulled the closing defender into a speed and point of intersection and then hit his electric motor, like a TESLA.
    Both of the examples above are not something that can be taught, those were his backyard football survival skills.
    This kid has the intangible “it”
    Great grab by the scouts and front office!

  60. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    WR Jaelon Darden has some HUGE Hands, for such a small guy!
    Honestly, I did not know who he was, until we drafted him, but after watching a lot of tape on him, I am excited!
    Not only does he have speed, but he also has the quality called elusiveness!

  61. I CARE NOW Says:

    SB, good reference. I just found it on my own and came here to share the info as well.

    If that video don’t scream X-Factor type player I don’t that I have ever seen one.

    Then you watch Kadaius Toney aka “JOKA” highlights and your like SAME FREAKING GUY???

    Never mind Brady loving Jaelon. TRASK is gonna be DINOMITE with Darden and Pitts… I mean OJ…. For YEARS TO COME

  62. I CARE NOW Says:

    Only difference in the highlights are that Darden doesn’t get caught from behind like Toney…

    Oh and the other team couldn’t single him out as the only play maker to defend.

    I might be wrong but to me… THIS GUY IS GOING TO BE SUPER FUN TO WATCH.



    Therefore, he is not any other dog than the one and only “Xoloitzcuintli”.

  63. IrishMist Says:

    I think Cobraboy has a good idea. So QBs should run their 40 while being chased from behind by a 270 LB edge rusher.

  64. Pickgrin Says:

    “If a guy can ball, he can ball.”

    Didn’t Hargreaves pretty well ruin that quote forever?

  65. BradyBucs Says:


    How does anyone mention successful WRs from smaller football schools and not mention…


  66. Cobraboy Says:

    Back in The Day, I was so slow the coaches timed my 40 with a sundial…

  67. Anonymous Says:

    S C Bucs Fan/Willie Joe Natmith built the first brothel!

  68. BucEmUp Says:

    I already knew who it was. The tape doesnt lie. That kid is not going to be another Kenny Bell he looked like a 1rnd or 2nd rnd wr. I cannot wait to see him. Justin Watson is a goner.

  69. Marques Says:

    I would of loved drafting Trey Smith. He was a steal for KC in the 6th. I know about blood clots. We will regret not drafting him. When your 1st team all sec that means something. Like Arians always says no risk it no biscuit. Should have drafted this cookie.

  70. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Randy Moss, was at Notre Dame and Fl State, then finished at Marshall. Just saying. GO BUCS!!!