Jaelon Darden draft blog

North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden lunges for the end zone during a game against UAB at Apogee Stadium. Darden is UNT’s best NFL draft prospect this year.

We are now just weeks away from the NFL draft and potentially a milestone moment for North Texas and wide receiver Jaelon Darden.

UNT has the longest draft drought in major college football, one that dates back to 2004 when the Raiders selected linebacker Cody Spencer in the sixth round.

The Mean Green have had several players go on to memorable NFL careers in the ensuing years. Linebacker Zach Orr was a second-team All-Pro in 2016 before a neck condition forced him to retire.

Jaelon Darden

Jaelon Darden

Running backs Patrick Cobbs and Lance Dunbar, linebacker Craig Robertson and fullback Jamize Olawale are just a few of the players who have gone on to play in the NFL since Spencer was drafted.

Each of those players share a common trait. They all began their careers as undrafted free agents.

Breaking its draft drought would do UNT’s program a whole lot of good.

Darden is UNT’s best hope in years. He caught 74 passes for 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns in just nine games this season.

The senior declared for the draft following the Mean Green’s win over UTEP to cap the regular season. The Houston native became UNT’s all-time leader in all three major receiving categories against the Miners.

Darden finished with 230 receptions, 2,782 yards and 38 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Mean Green.

Darden’s production caught the attention of NFL teams, despite the fact he is undersized at 5-foot-9. Several NFL mock drafts have him slated to be selected anywhere from the middle to late rounds.

Pro Football Focus has Darden listed at No. 91 on its Big Board.

The following mock drafts have included Darden:

NFL Mock Draft Database — sixth round

  • Draft Tek —
  • Blogging the Boys —

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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