Fled from Sierra Leone as a young kid to avoid war conflict, Amara Darboh’s quest to the NFL is a bit different compared to other NFL Draft prospects. Darboh and his family settled down in Des Moines, Iowa. He became a U.S. citizen as recently as 2015. It was there where Darboh was able to untap his athletic potential.
In high school, Darboh established himself as a premier football recruit in the state of Iowa, earning a 4-star grade from most recruiting databases. He was also an all-conference basketball player as well. Darboh would go on to sign with the Michigan Wolverines, and also had a flurry of offers from other Big Ten schools; programs like Notre Dame and Florida were also in the mix.
During his time in Ann Arbor, Darboh steadily improved each year. This past season, he emerged as the #1 receiver for Michigan alongside fellow draft prospect Jehu Chesson. Darboh led the team in receiving with 862 yards on 57 catches while scoring 7 TDs. He enters the 2017 NFL Draft as one of the more “under the radar” type prospects, but he offers a high floor and can contribute from day one.
Name: Amara Darboh
Size: 6’2”/214/32 5/8” Arm Length/9 7/8” Hands
Class: Senior (RS)
Comparison: Jaelen Strong (Houston Texans)
Draft Grade: 3rd Round
Combine: 40-Yard Dash: 4.45 – Bench Press: 17 Reps – Vertical Jump: 36” – Broad Jump: 124”
Darboh makes Marshon Lattimore look silly. So smooth with his feet. Gets his hands underneath the ball to secure the TD catch in OT. pic.twitter.com/ifzLZznRlp
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) March 26, 2017
Positives: Excellent footwork. Quick, nimble feet. Deceptive, swift body control. Glides out of his release. Smooth route runner who excels at working the middle of the field. Typically gains separation on in-and-out routes. Freezes the opponent on double-moves. Has a knack for getting in front of the defender on closely contested balls and making the catch with the defender draped behind him. Displays concentration. Positions body well to inhale ball right into midsection. Gets his hands underneath low thrown balls. Keeps the ball secure even with big hits. Ability to pick up some RAC. Heavily utilized on screens at Michigan. Engageful blocker. Charges diagonally to block man in space on swing/screens. Tested well at the Combine. Above average arm length and hand size. Athletic background – was also an all-conference basketball player in high school.
Negatives: Despite 4.45 speed, not a threat to burn defenses deep. Fails to gain separation on vertical routes. Struggles to track the ball over his shoulder. Doesn’t possesses that late jolt to catch up to balls. Lacks ideal physicality at the point of attack. Loses battles with scrappy corners. Drops a ball on occasion. Lacks viable hand strength to make consistent catches with contact. Usually won’t improvise out of curl routes on broken plays or if his man is right there with him. A bit vanilla around the goal line – won’t make a big impact in that vicinity. Suffered season-ending foot injury prior to the 2013 season.
Outlook: Even as a Michigan fan, I don’t think I quite recognized the talent of Amara Darboh until evaluating him. He’s among the best route runner in the entire class. Incredibly smooth feet with a swift release. A fluid overall athlete. Darboh is a perfect fit in a west coast scheme as he has the ability to chip away at defenses over the middle of the field. He’s not going to stretch the field or beat you over the top, but in the correct role he can have a longtime impact in the NFL as a team’s #2 receiver. An Anquan Boldin type ceiling. He presents solid value in the 3rd round but will likely slip to the 4th round in this class.