Veteran cornerback Ronald Darby enters his first year with the Denver Broncos with a clear mandate to add his blazing speed to a secondary that many national pundits are projecting to be among the best in the league — if not the best.
The initial assessment of Denver's new GM George Paton on how to get back into the divisional race quickly identified the importance of adding a fast match-up corner to help defend the likes of Kansas City Chiefs deep-ball threat Tyreek Hill.
Hill has tormented the Broncos ever since he entered the league back in 2016 and Darby is all too aware of the infamous speed the Chiefs receiver has at his disposal.
“You know I’m going to say him, and people like him,” Darby said last week after a minicamp practice. “That’s one that comes to the top of my head that a can think of as far as fast, fast, fast.”
Darby’s history as an accomplished youth sprinter (he registered 4.37-second speed in the 40-yard dash and a 10.61s in the 100-meter previously) displays the credentials that will allow him to lock horns with 'The Cheetah.'
“With guys like that, you have to eliminate the deep ball,” Darby said. “He’s a deep-ball threat. You can probably scheme or use a technique that you could play. You have to try to get your hands on him as well. You can’t let him run up on you.”
Growing up, the 27-year-old wore jersey No. 28 in honor of Hall-of-Famer Darrell Green, so being a speed-first corner has always been written in the stars, and ever since his formative days as a player, Darby's reputation for quickness has always preceded him.
“Of course, everyone knows me for my speed," Darby said. "I can run with a lot of people. Not all—there’s a couple out there that are fast, fast, fast. Just my speed and my experience. I’ve seen a lot while playing. I’m going into my seventh year, so it’s a lot that I’ve learned over the years.”
Darby wasn’t the only veteran addition to the Broncos' cornerback unit with former Chicago Bears All-Pro Kyle Fuller also arriving to bolster the ranks and provide the weaponry required to fight fire with fire. It seems a no-brainer that Darby will end up drawing the dangerous assignment of covering Hill when the Broncos meet the Chiefs.
That being said, Darby is also fully aware that it will require him to find the perfect balance between speed and technical command in order to be successful.
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