Drafted: Third round, 82nd overall, after trade with Minnesota for Ravens' 88th pick and fifth-rounder (155th)
Position: Wide receiver
College: Washington State
Measurables: 6-foot-1, 213 pounds
Hometown: Houston, Texas.
Resume: All Pac-10 Conference honorable-mention selection last season as a junior, Darling caught 104 passes for 1,630 yards and 18 touchdowns after transferring from Florida State. Darling’s identical twin brother, Devaughn, died in FSU's off-season conditioning drill in 2001. Last season, Darling caught 50 passes for 830 yards, a 16.6 average and seven touchdowns. Caught at least two passes in every game last year except against UCLA when he was shut out.
Upside: Rangy receiver is built for speed, has a family track background. Demonstrated acceleration and solid adjustments to the football, using his 37 ½ inch vertical leap.
Downside: Needs to catch the football with his hands all of the time instead of his habit of occasionally absorbing it with his body. Could improve upon his blocking assignments.
How he fits in: An immediate influx of speed as a starting candidate for the NFL’s lowest-ranked passing game last season.
Quotable: “Obviously, this is what everybody is focused on, this receiver, and he is a unique combination,” Ravens coach Brian Billick said. “Having his background, he is fairly polished, yet he still has a big upside, which is kind of an odd combination.
“He is a very impressive athlete. Any time that you can mix athleticism in the wide receiver position, it is going to be a blast.”
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.