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Draft INSIGHT: Round 3 – WR Jaelon Darden & OT Stone Forsythe

Swing tackle is needed for depth and a speedster for the receiver room

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Houston Baptist at North Texas Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WR Jaelon Darden

Cleveland Browns fans, meet your own Tyrek Hill. Explosive and dynamic are two exceptional words to describe him. At first, he should be a role player but will eventually be on the field more and more as his speed and receiving attributes become apparent. Precise route runnerj who consistently get opens and then has a field day with space. 35.5 vertical jump. Punt returner is a plus. Four-year starter had 1,190 yards last year in only nine games with 19 touchdowns.

Darden is an older player from a small school so the competition-level demons will rise up and question his production. Draft position is the big issue for Darden, but Hill was taken in Round 5. Had 2,782 career yards with 38 touchdowns. Averaged 16.1 yards per catch his senior season.

Draft projection: Early to mid third-round

Specifics:

College: North Texas

Height: 5’-9”

Weight: 174 pounds

40-time: 4.46

Career Receiving Yards: 2,782

Career Touchdowns: 38

Career Receptions: 230

Career Tackles for Loss: 10

Career starts: 47

Positives:

  • Makes first man miss
  • Yards after contact off the chart
  • Four-year starter
  • Highly-productive
  • Elite physical tools
  • Dangerous, scary receiver
  • First Team All-USA Conference 2019 and 2020
  • Consensus All-American 2020 ESPN
  • Great leaping abilities
  • Quick twitch
  • Solid body control in mid-air
  • Durable with zero injury history
  • Conference USA MVP 2020

Negatives:

  • Not a large catch radius
  • Older player from a small school
  • Played against lesser competition
  • Lack of size and strength
  • Lacks interest when the play is away from him
  • Downfield blocking needs work
  • Route tree will need to be increased

Expert Draft Site Analysis

PrimeTimeSportsTalk.com

Zoom! Darden is a speed burner who should test in the 4.3s. There are many instances where he blows past defensive backs. He does seem to have a hard time keeping up speed on hard in-breaking routes.. Apart from the fact that Darden usually takes a second to load power into his first step, he has insane burst. .When the ball is in his hands, Darden seems to have a nose for the endzone. Darden rarely gets pressed thanks to his immense speed and burst. However, he has a solid jab/ shuffle step to get the corner off-platform before he blows past him. Ultimately, this is his only release tactic.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 24 Camping World Kickoff - Florida v Miami Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

OT Stone Forsythe

Although the Browns had a very good year in 2020, one thing that really stood out with the offense was the lack of quality depth – especially at both tackle positions.

Five players had taken the opt-out option including four offensive linemen: OG Drew Forbes, OG Malcolm Pridgeon, OT Drake Dorbeck and OG Colby Gossett. The absence of this depth became an issue when several members of the O-line were injured or a victim of the pandemic.

Stone Forsythe would be an excellent project tackle to take in Round 3. He is a giant man with a huge wingspan. In college he has played some guard, but spent the majority of his time at right tackle before switching to left tackle so the versatility is there.

He does struggle with lateral movement and will need development. Enter Bill Callahan. Forsythe is controlled in pass sets but he shines in the running game which plays into the Browns offense. Will challenge early off the snap and is just a very strong young man. Natural strength.

Draft projection: Late third-round

Specifics:

College: Florida

Height: 6’-8”

Weight: 315 pounds

40-time: 5.12

Career starts: 25

Positives:

  • NFL lineage as his father Ray played
  • Trusts his instincts
  • Can not be bull rushed
  • Tree branches for arms
  • Finishes blocks
  • Will move to second level
  • Excellent run blocker
  • Once he latches onto a defender, he wins
  • Great feet
  • Very athletic
  • Versatility on both sides

Negatives:

  • More consistency with leverage
  • Needs to recognize some blocking schemes
  • Average pass blocker
  • Inconsistent hand placement
  • Needs a better first step with faster DE’s
  • Fear factor just isn’t present
  • Lack of mobility
  • Needs to read his trajectory better

Expert Draft Site Analysis

OLineDLine.com

Large college left tackle who projects to the right side at the next level. Patient, stays square, and shows strength at the point. Anchors in pass protection, turns defenders from the action, and seals open running lanes. Keeps his head on a swivel, correctly places his hands into defenders, and works through the whistle. Makes solid use of angles and body positioning. Lacks footwork off the edge. Struggles to adjust and pick up blitzes. Exploited by speed rushers. Forsythe has next-level size, but is limited to a small area and comes with marginal upside. He’s a backup at right tackle or guard for a power-gap offense.