2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ronald Darby

  • Man-cover corner
  • Superb at not allowing separation
  • Great speed to run with speed receivers
  • Plays well in off-man coverage
  • Ability to run with receivers in their routes
  • Change-of-direction skills
  • Can play press-man coverage
  • Good size; put together well
  • Confident; has the man-corner mentality
  • Used to playing on an island
  • Loose hips; can turn and run
  • Has some length
  • Fast backpedal
  • Quick feet
  • Upside
  • Played well against elite competition
  • Scheme versatile
  • Special teams ability

  • Weaknesses:
  • Lacks ball skills
  • Doesn’t play the ball well when it comes his direction
  • Could stand to be more physical on 50-50 passes
  • Good, but not great, height
  • Doesn’t do much in run defense

  • Summary: The Florida State defense was packed with NFL talent, and one of the Seminoles’ strengths over the past two seasons was their cornerback tandem of Darby and P.J. Williams. Florida State really hasn’t had a great pass rush the past two seasons after Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine went on to the NFL. That put more pressure on the Seminoles’ pass coverage, and Darby was their best cover corner.

    Darby impressed in 2012 with eight passes broken up, 22 tackles and a forced fumble. He had four passes broken up and two interceptions in 2013, but only 14 tackles. The junior notched 43 tackles with four passes broken up in 2014. He had a number of good games. When matched up against Louisville’s DeVante Parker, the big wideout made some catches over Darby and got away with push-offs, but Parker wasn’t getting separation from Darby.

    For the NFL, Darby is a cover corner who is very skilled at not allowing separation. He is extremely fast, which could be seen in his Combine run and his experience as a track performer. Darby not only has great speed, but he is very agile to flip his hips and run with receivers. He can run the routes with wideouts and keep them from getting open. Darby is able to play off-man or press-man coverage. He could play zone, but he would be better playing in a man scheme.

    The areas that Darby could stand to improve are his ball skills and run defense. He doesn’t play the ball well when it comes his direction, and that is why he didn’t have a big total of passes defended or interceptions. Darby needs to get better at attacking the football and getting his hands on it. In run support, he could do more to help the ground game.

    Some teams really like Darby as a late first-round pick, but others have projected him to the second round.

    Player Comparison: Johnathan Joseph. There are a lot of similarities between Joseph (5-11, 188) and Darby as they are nearly identical in size. Both are good man corners who have the speed to prevent separation and enough strength to match up against bigger receivers. Joseph was the 24th-overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, and Darby could get late first-round consideration or go early in the second round. If Darby pans out, he could be a corner who is comparable to Joseph.

    NFL Matches: Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia, Arizona, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New England

    There are a lot for teams that are in the market to improve their cornerbacks and the free agent market was consumed quickly, so Darby has a number of landing spots on Thursday night or early on Friday night.

    Minnesota is in the cornerback market for a partner for Xavier Rhodes. With the passing attacks in Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago, the Vikings are going to need a top-notch secondary. Plus, Mike Zimmer is always inclined to take a corner in the first round. The 11th pick is too high for Darby, but if the Vikings trade down or up from their second-rounder, Darby could be a target.

    The Saints signed some veteran help, but they still could consider more cornerback help. Darby could be in play for their pick at No. 31 that was acquired from Seattle. San Francisco and Miami also could us a long-term starters at corner. Both of those teams have some age at the position. However, Darby would be too rich at either organization’s first-round pick, but either could look to draft him in Round 2.

    Philadelphia signed some veterans, but the team could still consider cornerback help. Darby could be the nickel and eventually become a starter when the Eagles save money by cutting a veteran.

    Arizona needs a cornerback to replace Antonio Cromartie, and Darby has the skill set that Cardinals look for. He could form a nice duo with Peterson.

    The Ravens need to improve their cornerback play and could definitely be a landing spot for Darby. The Colts could use a long-term starter to pair with Vontae Davis.

    Green Bay lost some veteran corners in free agency, and the Packers like cornerbacks with size who can run. Darby should be in play for Green Bay.

    With the final pick of the first round of the 2015 NFL, Darby could fit the Patriots as they have to replace Darrelle Revis.


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