Ronald Darby can tell you about ups and downs in the game of football.
A USA Today High School All-American and Under-Armor All-American All-Star Game participant, Darby chose Florida State after being widely recruited and being considered the 2012 class best cornerback.
The former Seminole experienced three ACC titles and one BCS National Title before he departed FSU following his junior season, entering the NFL full of expectations, and was subsequently drafted in the second round (50th overall) by the Buffalo Bills.
After being named the PFF Defensive Rookie of the Year (2015) and only two seasons in Buffalo, and two seasons remaining on his rookie contract, Darby was suddenly traded to the Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third round draft choice.
Peter King reported at the time that Darby did not buy into the program and scheme of then new Bills coach Sean McDermott.
Darby began to experience injuries in his first season (2017) in Philadelphia, starting only seven games. However, he returned for the playoffs, and was healthy and dependable enough that he played in 97 and 99 percent (defensive snaps) of the two NFC playoff game victories and every single defensive snap in the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Darby continued to fight through injuries in his final two seasons in Philadelphia, playing in 20 of the Eagles’ 32 games, intercepting three passes and defending 23 more.
Inside the Numbers:
Having played at Potomac in Oxon Hill, MD, Darby grew up a Darrell Green fan; consequently, he chose to wear number 28 for the Buffalo Bills.
Incidentally, the player drafted immediately following Darby in the 51st position was Utah defensive end and current Redskin, Nate Orchard, taken by the Browns.
Also drafted in that second round of the 2015 NFL Draft were Alabama safety Landon Collins (33rd by the New York Giants) and Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith (38th by the Washington Redskins).
Darby measures at 5-foot-11 weighing 193 pounds.
The former FSU corner started all 29 games in which he participated in his two seasons with the Bills; intercepting two passes, defending 33 passes, recording 121 solo tackles, 16 assisted tackles (four for a loss) and one QB hit.
After a quite disappointing 2019 season in Philadelphia, the former Defensive Rookie of the Year, was limited to only signing a one-year deal with the Redskins.
Darby’s base salary will be $1.25 million with a cap-hit of $2.8 million for the 2020 season.
Darby’s highest graded season (PFF) was 78.3 in 2017.
In contrast Kendall Fuller graded out highest in 2017 as a 90.6 corner, while Fabian Moreau was a 60.4 (2018) and Jimmy Moreland (2019) a 56.7.
Darby’s PFF grade spiraled downward in his last two seasons (2018- 67.5, 2019- 45.9) with the Eagles; thus they determined to not resign Darby.
Being transparent upon signing, Darby acknowledged that he had much to prove this next season.
The Redskins announced Darby will wear number 35 for the Burgundy and Gold.
Video Analysis / Highlights:
What they’re saying:
The Team 980 Morning Host Kevin Sheehan welcomed Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia to discuss the Eagles. (Discussion regarding Darby begins at 13:40).
“Ronald Darby, kind of a strange one. He was hurt; he was hurt the whole time he was here, all three years.” - Reuben Frank
“He is a young guy but plays old, he looked old; they (Eagles) paid him five million bucks to come back last year and he was horrible.” Frank on Darby.
“My favorite all-time player was Darrell Green. I grew up a huge Darrell Green fan.” -Ronald Darby
Darby is projected by Mike Clay of ESPN to play 721 snaps, 59 tackles and 2.6 interceptions.
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Ivan Lambert is a lifelong die-hard Washington Redskins fan, raised in Berryville, Virginia. He is married and the father of two fine young men. He is currently a sports correspondent for The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida and can be found on Twitter @IvanLambert18