CB Ronald Darby
The clear connection linking Ronald Darby to the Detroit Lions is newly appointed defensive coordinator Cory Undlin. He’s been awarded the promotion in Detroit after working as the Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach.
Darby is just 26 years old, may benefit from a fresh start. Usually, having a familiar face around can help that transition, that works for first time play-callers such as Undlin as well. That is if Patricia indeed allows him to call the defense.
The Detroit Lions can use all the help in the secondary they can get. After trading standout Darius Slay to the Eagles and taking a chance on Desmond Trufant to shadow their opponents top wide receiver, having someone like a hungry Darby-like corner as a third or fourth option.
Darby has battled injuries but has enough skill to be a fringe NFL starter. Although he hasn’t had the same success as a Rashaan Melvin, at this point, he’d be an upgrade to last year’s right cornerback production. He’d be an excellent insurance policy to Amani Oruwariye if he falters in his first starting opportunity.
Before the start of free agency, I had mentioned Logan Ryan as a target of the Detroit Lions, but he’s seeking Trufant-type money, and Detroit can’t afford to pay that. Darby produced an awful 45.9-grade last season that included an atrocious 41.0 in coverage.
While being limited to 11 games last season, Darby compiled 37 tackles, allowed a catch rate of 63% when targeted, reeling in 2 interceptions. The bad news, he allowed 6 touchdowns on 39 receptions, to go with a career-high 17 yards per reception against.
Before last season, Darby regular produced defensive grades in the 70s; he’d be a low-risk signing with upside in Detroit.