Eagles Would Have Preferred Darby Out of NFC East
It was time, Philadelphia fans thrilled that Ronald Darby is staying inside the division may end up regretting that the talented cornerback decided to return home, signing a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins.
Darby’s three-year stay In Philadelphia was an injury-marred one as the Florida State product played in just 28 of a possible 48 regular-season games due to a whole host of injuries, both serious ones like a dislocated ankle and torn ACL, along with nagging soft-tissue issues.
Yet, every time Darby did recuperate defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would default to him as his most talented outside CB option.
Originally a second-round pick by Buffalo in 2015, Darby was shipped to the Eagles in August of 2017 for Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick. A D.C.-area native, Darby dislocated that ankle in his first game with the Eagles against the Redskins and while it took him two months to recover, Darby was ultimately back as a starter opposite Jalen Mills as Philadelphia made its run to Super Bowl LII.
The hope of a true CB1 never materialized, however, and many thought Darby was going to leave in free agency last season, but a sizable market never materialized and he returned on a one-year, prove-it deal for $8.5 million.
Not much was proven and this time around, as Darby played poorly when in the lineup and had to go the prove-it route with the Redskins for half of what was promised in Philadelphia.
This is perhaps his last chance to prove that an All-Rookie season in Buffalo was no fluke.
It’s not that the Eagles should have brought Darby back, especially after Philadelphia went production over projection this time around by acquiring a far more proven player at outside CB in Darius Slay.
Darby’s time had run its course in Philly, but don’t think for a second that Doug Pederson is going to see Darby in the Burgundy and Gold and default to targeting him.
At just 26, if the injuries stop piling up and the confidence returns, Darby is still young enough and fast enough to be trouble on the outside.
John McMullen covers the Eagles for SI.com. You can listen to John every day at 4 ET on ESPN 97.3 in South Jersey and reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen