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Fantasy implications of Bucs drafting WR Jaelon Darden with No. 129 pick

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted North Texas WR Jaelon Darden with the 129th pick in the 2021 draft. Will he be a fantasy football asset to start his career?

North Texas Mean Green wide receiver Jaelon Darden (1) catches a pass and runs in for a touchdown during the game between the North Texas Mean Green and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Thursday 3, 2020 at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas. Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted former North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden in 2021 NFL Draft. He joins a depth chart that includes Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, and Tyler Johnson.

Darden had a tremendous junior season in 2019 and backed that up with a breakout senior campaign this past season. In nine games, he recorded 74 receptions for 1190 yards and an incredible 19 touchdowns. Despite only being 5-foot-9 and 174 lbs., Darden is a playmaker and is a good route runner. With his speed and elusiveness in the slot, it makes the Bucs’ offense that much more dangerous.

Fantasy football impact

Rookie

As we saw last year, it doesn’t matter if you are veteran like Mike Evans or a rookie such as Tyler Johnson, if you are open, Tom Brady will find you. Last season, we saw Johnson make some plays along with Scotty Miller when either guys were hurt or being taken out of the game plan by opposing defenses. Darden could find himself playing throughout the season in the slot when Miller or Godwin are not in the game. However, we should not expect much from because of the all the talent in the wide receiver core. At best, he’s a WR4/FLEX option in fantasy football.

Long-term

With Godwin playing on the franchise tag and Brown re-signing on a one-year deal, we could see a completely different WR room in Tampa Bay over the next couple of seasons. Darden will be competing with Miller for the slot job as both guys are explosive players on the field. If the former North Texas wideout beats out Miller in 2022, then he could move up to WR3/FLEX territory.