Jaelon Darden Says He’s Working Mainly Outside And Isn’t “Fully Comfortable”

August 8th, 2021

The Buccaneers’ little speedster rookie fourth-round pick receiver isn’t settled into a slot role and feeling like he’s on top of the mountain.

And that’s totally ok and expected.

Jaelon Darden joined The Salty Dogs podcast at Buccaneers.com and sort of gave a state of the rookie address.

Darden said he’s playing outside particularly and “after I learn the offense, then we’ll see what the coaches would like me to do.”

As for learning the playbook, it’s been a challenge. Darden said plays at the University of North Texas were one-word calls. Now he’s dealing with complex language. “That’s the hardest thing right now,” he said.

The former high school quarterback says he “still shocked” by getting drafted to play with Tom Brady, and he totally remembers the first practice pass he caught from The Goat.

Yes, he’s been praised by Bucco Bruce Arians for his knack of getting open consistently, but Darden said he hasn’t put his game on display yet.

“I honestly don’t feel like I’ve been able to show everything because I’m still learning. I’m not fully comfortable yet,” he said. That clashed with him telling local media last week “I’m definitely feeling comfortable,” so Joe will let fans interpret that as they wish.

Darden referenced working on tracking the ball and overall he seemed to have his head exactly where it needs to be.

Under the Commander Schiano regime, Darden would have been described as a Buccaneer Man.

27 Responses to “Jaelon Darden Says He’s Working Mainly Outside And Isn’t “Fully Comfortable””

  1. Tkras red Bozo lips Says:

    OMG…this kid seems like a project: drops balls & can’t understand the playbook.

  2. SB~LV Says:

    Rookie from a very small school and program, it’s expected that his head is spinning and he has not even seen the complex trickery of the NFL DC’s .
    He’ll be a one or two trick pony this year.
    But a dangerous weapon if he gets his hands on the ball in the tiniest of space

  3. rrsrq Says:

    Seriously commenters, that’s what we get from 2 weeks of training camp. One thing you can’t coach, well a couple of things, speed and juice, this kid has both, believe the coaches will put him in a position to succeed, but they really don’t have to this year.

  4. BradyBucs Says:

    Why isn’t this kid primarily talking about, “Just making sure I catch the ball when it’s coming down from such a steep angle… then running the lanes my blockers have setup.” ???


    I thought we drafted this guy primarily to be a Return Specialist? That’s what this team needed most as an upgrade over Mickens.

  5. DaBux Says:

    Learn quick kid or you’re flipping burgers.

  6. PassingThru Says:

    I think the kid was drafted primarily to be a return man, and train to be a possible solution at slot receiver if Godwin leaves at the end of the season.

    I like that Darden’s a former QB. Former QBs have a better feel for understanding how to run routes and finding seams in zone coverage. That translates into great chemistry with Brady.

  7. Youngbucs Says:

    Hey bozo lips I wanna see you completely learn a new language in a week!

  8. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    No way he beats Scotty Miller this year. He just needs to concentrate as a special team contributor. Hopefully he nails both kick and punt returner.

  9. WillieG Says:

    Joe, I’m home with Covid, and I’ll have to quarantine for the next ten days. I’m gonna be needing y’all to post more stories. Lots more. 😂

    Also, can you hire a tech guy to set up text alerts so I don’t have to keep checking this here site only to (sadly) find out I’ve already read everything? Thanks bunches. 😂

  10. Mike Says:

    I have seen a pattern from Licht where he drafts guys ready to contribute early (1st / 2nd round) then drafts guys in the middle rounds who he projects out 2 years or more as future starters with some development. So far, that strategy of player development has been working, so I’m good if Darden is a next year type of pick, but I like what I’ve seen and heard from him so far, so I think he will get sprinkled in a lot because he has so much juice!

  11. geno711 Says:

    I am of the opinion that the guys who do not already feel confident in the playbook at this time of training camp are very unlikely to be playing for the Buc’s when the season starts.

    That is ok for a late 4th round choice at the Buc’s deepest position.

    Maybe we just need to mostly look towards next year for him as a pro wide receiver. If he shows all the skills that got the team and fans excited in next years camp and regular season than he will be an excellent 4th round choice for us.

    Antonio Brown played 9 games his rookie year with 16 total catches for 167 yards and no TD’s, He did end up in those 9 games looking decent in the return game for Pittsburgh though.

    If Darden does 9 games of excellent return man for us this year, it will be plenty.

  12. Buc1987 Says:

    “Commander Schiano regime.”

    We’ve come a long way baby.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    DaBux Says:
    August 8th, 2021 at 2:17 pm
    Learn quick kid or you’re flipping burgers.

    Doesn’t say much for a degree from North Texas State

  14. Stanglassman Says:

    Get well WillieG!

  15. WillieG Says:

    Thanks Stanglassman I am doing pretty well. And Publix delivers food AND beer, so it’s all good.

  16. Bird Says:

    He is most like AB
    Hate to say it , but have him be AB’s shadow until the season starts

  17. Crickett Baker Says:

    Wille feel better and stay away from those ventilators! There is a site called Sportspyder that you can set up for the Bucs and see LOTS of articles listed. All of Joe’s are there at once, too. Just a “headsup” if you don’t know about it as it keeps one busy.

  18. Cobraboy Says:

    His 2021 value will be as a dynamic return guy.

    IF he’s that guy.

  19. ManzielMadness Says:

    I don’t get all the Darden hate. How many other rookies are working out with the starters besides Tryon? Coaching staff must see something. Not to mention Arians has talked about him getting wide @ss open. If he’s making plays against SMB, Davis and Dean then I’d be encouraged.

  20. Joe Says:

    I don’t get all the Darden hate.

    Who exactly hates Darden?

    Will confess it is a bit premature to hand him the No. 4 WR gig after only a half-dozen padded practices. But the kid seems grounded. Promising? Yes. But let’s tap the brakes before he’s named All-Pro.

  21. firethecannons Says:

    He has a long way to go but what is the rush right? He is the future not the now.

  22. Joe Says:


    Joe, I’m home with Covid.

    Geez. 🙁 Hope you feel better and lick this thing. 👍

  23. August 1976 Buc Says:

    The kid is going to be another weapon to take off the top of defenses, and return punts and kickoffs. He has a great attitude along with the speed amd juice. 3 things that you can not coach. He will be fine. Mr 7 rings, and GOAT said himself that he took awhile to learn the playbook last year. So why be down on this kid. He is going to make some big plays this year. And maybe 5 or 10, and a few might be a play that wins the game. Again lighten up on Baby boy Darden. He is going to be fine.


  24. Ne+ bucs fan Says:

    Yep, here’s to a fast recovery Willie G👍

  25. ManzielMadness Says:


    “Who exactly hates Darden?”

    Was referring to a couple of the above comments, not the article.

  26. Oneilbuc Says:

    Get well soon Bro !!! Praying for you bro !!

  27. AtlBuc Says:

    That clashed with him telling local media last week “I’m definitely feeling comfortable,” so Joe will let fans interpret that as they wish.

    Thats simple. The first statement was in underwear football. The latest statement was after the pads came on!