While fellow wide receiver and former senior teammate Jehu Chesson came into the 2016/17 college football campaign with all the attention, his name etched among the major college award watch lists, it has been the play of his colleague Amara Darboh that has caught my eye this season, rising from under Chesson’s shadow throughout his final campaign in Ann Arbor, ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Darboh notably developed considerably this season, breaking out as a well rounded, technically sound talent. A highly experienced starter for the Wolverines, in this his third campaign as a starter, Darboh stands out as a technician at the position who can be relied upon as a dependable piece of co-ordinator Tim Drevino’s offense.
At 6’2 215lbs, the West Des Moines, Iowa native boasts a strong, powerfully built and muscular physique, who approaches the role with noticeable physicality, taking the game directly to more often than not physically less impressive defensive backs, making him a tough prospect to matchup with. Defensive backs have a tough time in trying to get around his broad and thick upper body, that Darboh utilises intelligently to ‘wall off’ the catch point and assertively close off the football, even when defenders are draped all over him, a situation he thrives on most.
While many at his position succeed at the collegiate level thanks to god-given physical gifts, Michigan’s #82 wins as much with his footballing brain, in recognising so effectively when his quarterback is in trouble. Time and again the senior will break off from his routes to sit down for his signal caller, squaring his shoulders and planting from a moving position to stationary one in an instant, utilising his outstanding awareness, concentration on the ball and ever so reliable hands.
The senior has a great sense of awareness as to where he is on the field at any given moment, feeling the presence of his opposing defence and where the sideline is to hugely impressive effect. Whomever has started at quarterback for ‘Big Blue’ this season, be it Wilson Speight or John O’Korn, Darboh has truly been their best friend when they have needed him most.
— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) January 27, 2017
While Darboh wont wow anyone at the NFL Combine later this month in the 40 yard sprint, or 3-cone split times, he has that innate ability and skill set to become a successful and immediate contributor to NFL offences across all 32 teams. Not only has he proven his ability week in week out in this season’s hugely competitive Big-Ten, but against future NFL calibre defensive backs in Garreon Conley, Marcus Lattimore and Malik Hooker of Ohio State, demonstrating his ability to be a weapon not only at the sideline but as a physical mismatch across the middle of the field. Keep you eye open for #82 this bowl season before he makes his presence felt on Sundays.
We say: 2nd Round
Likely to go:4th Round
Rick Osentoski/USA Today
If you enjoyed this you can read our scouting reports on all the eligible draft prospects in the 2017 edition of our NFL Draft Guide, available here from the 1st April (All proceeds are donated to Muscular Dystrophy UK) (£5).