Ronald Darby (born January 2, 1994) is an American football cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played college football at Florida State. Darby is also a world class sprinter, having won medals at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics.
Darby attended Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland, where he played as many as six different positions on offense, defense, and special teams. Excelling on defense, Darby was part of a Wolverines' secondary that also included Tavon Young, and which registered four shutouts and allowed just 82 points in 2011. Darby was a USA Today and Sports Illustrated High School All-American in 2011, and participated in the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game. as a junior, rushed for 1,329 yards and 23 touchdowns, while tallying three interceptions and eight pass breakups on defense.
Regarded as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Darby, running a 4.37 second 40-yard dash, was ranked as the No. 2 cornerback prospect in his class, behind only Tracy Howard. He chose Florida State over Notre Dame, Maryland, Clemson and Auburn.
Darby won a bronze medal in the 200 m at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics. He also finished fourth in the 100 m. Along with Aldrich Bailey, Najee Glass, and Arman Hall, he ran a World Youth Best in the meet's medley relay.
As a true freshman at Florida State, Darby was part of a Florida State defense that led the ACC in points allowed (15.1 per game) and yards allowed (253.8). They ranked seventh in the FBS. Although exclusively a back-up to Xavier Rhodes and Nick Waisome, Darby registered 18 tackles and broke up seven passes in 2012, which earned him ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Darby was also named Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. In the 2013 Orange Bowl vs. Northern Illinois, Darby registered four solo tackles and one defended pass. As a sophomore, he played in 14 games with nine starts, including playing in, and winning the 2013 BCS National Championship game. For the season he had 14 tackles and two interceptions. As a junior in 2014, he started all 14 games and recorded 43 tackles.
Coming out of Florida State, Darby was projected to be selected in the second or third rounds by the majority of analysts and scouts. With a deep cornerback draft class, Darby was even considered the second best cornerback coming out of Florida State behind P.J. Williams. He was invited to the NFL Combine and was able to raise his draft stock after finishing with good times in the 40, 20, and 10-yard dash. Darby participated at Florida State's Pro Day, but was satisfied with his combine performance and only performed positional drills. He had scheduled visits with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, and New York Jets. Going into the 2015 NFL Draft, he was ranked the third best cornerback by Lance Zierlein, the sixth best cornerback by Sports Illustrated, and the seventh best by NFLDraftScout.com.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 11 in
|31 3⁄8 in
|8 5⁄8 in
|4.38 s||1.53 s||2.56 s||4.14 s||6.94 s||41 1⁄2 in
|10 ft 9 in
|All values from NFL Combine |
On May 19, 2015, the Buffalo Bills signed Darby to a four-year, $4.56M contract with $2.17M guaranteed and a signing bonus of $1.58M.
After competing with Stephon Gilmore, Corey Graham, Ross Cockrell, Nickell Robey, and Ron Brooks throughout training camp, Darby was named a starting cornerback, opposite Stephon Gilmore, to begin the regular season.
Darby made his professional regular season debut in the Buffalo Bill's season-opener against the Indianapolis Colts and recorded six combined tackles, two pass deflections, and intercepted Andrew Luck for the first pick of his career, as the Bills defeated the Colts 27-14. On September 27, 2015, he made five combined tackles, a season-high four pass deflections, and intercepted Miami Dolphin's quarterback Ryan Tannehill during a 41-14 victory. He was named the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for September. During a Week 9 matchup against the Miami Dolphins, he racked up a season-high ten solo tackles and deflected a pass in a 33-17 victory. He missed a Week 16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys after suffering a groin injury. Darby finished his rookie season with 68 combined tackles (61 solo), 21 pass deflections, and two interceptions in 15 games and 15 starts, while also being named Pro Football Focus' Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Darby was named the starting cornerback to begin the 2016 regular season. He started the Bills' season-opener against the Baltimore Ravens and recorded a seven solo tackles and made two pass deflections in a 13-7 loss. He missed the Buffalo Bill's Week 3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals with a hamstring injury. During a Week 7 contest against the Miami Dolphins, he made a season-high eight solo tackles in a 28-25 loss. On November 27, 2016, Darby left in the first quarter of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars after suffering concussion while trying to make a tackle on Jaguar's running back Chris Ivory. Ivory attempted to hurdle him but his knee was driven into Darby's helmet in the process. He missed the 38-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders the following week. On December 11, 2016, he racked up a season-high ten combined tackles during a 27-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Darby finished the 2016 season with 69 combined tackles (60 solo) and 12 pass deflections in 14 games and 14 starts. The Buffalo Bills finished with a 7-9 record and head coach Rex Ryan was fired after Week 16 and replaced with Anthony Lynn.
On August 11, 2017, the Bills traded Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for slot wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third round NFL draft pick. In his first game with the Eagles, Darby injured his ankle in the second quarter and carted off the field. It was revealed that he dislocated his ankle and was ruled out for 4-6 weeks.