Ronald Darby is a cornerback prospect that played his college ball at Florida State. He is considered to be a top 5 player at his position, and should come off the board in the 1st or 2nd round. Darby is very athletic and displayed this at the combine with a 4.3 forty-yard dash. He is someone the panthers are interested in, as he has had workouts with the team, and came to Charlotte on a visit.
Darby is mostly known as the other corner on that FSU team (PJ Williams gets more publicity and fanfare). So I took a closer look at Darby, by watching 6 games to determine what types of coverage’s he played in, and the success rate quarterbacks had throwing at him. Pre snap, I would determine if he were the field corner, or boundary corner. The field corner is the corner who plays to the wide side of the field, while the other corner plays the opposite side, closer to the sideline. In most defenses, the best corner plays the boundary or short side.
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I would also see if he played on the outside, or inside at the nickel position. I also charted how many times Darby was in man coverage or zone coverage’s. The different coverage’s would get charted, and if the quarterback targeted him or zone would be charted as well. If the receiver catches the ball on him, in man or in his zone, that was charted. Darby broke the pass up; he would get credited with a PBU (pass break up). INT is self explanatory, and was another category charted. Quarterback success percentage is when the pass is completed on Darby, and the yards made on those catches would be the average per catch.
Here is the chart.
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Pre snap things, Darby played mostly field corner compared to boundary. Darby played 146 snaps at field corner, compared to 13 at the boundary spot. Darby also played all 159 snaps on the outside, and none in the slot or nickel positions.
Darby was in man coverage for most of his snaps, especially in press coverage. He played 61 snaps in press coverage, which is 38% of his snaps. Quarterbacks targeted Darby in press coverage 11 times, and completed 4 passes. That gives opposing quarterbacks a 36% success rating while Darby was in press-man coverage. Those 4 catches went for around 85 yards total, and an average of 21 yards per catch.
Darby was in zone coverage’s for 34 snaps. Darby played in cover 3 or a deep 3rd of the field on 18 snaps. He played the flat, or cover 2 on 16 snaps. In cover 3, Darby was only targeted 1 time, for an incompletion. He was targeted 3 times in cover 2, with 1 completion coming on a swing out pass to the running back. He quickly planted, broke up and tackled the running back for a 3-yard loss.
He does need to work on his off man coverage skills. Darby was in off man coverage on 15 plays, and targeted twice by quarterbacks. Those 2 targets, turned into completions for the quarterback, and one turning into a touchdown by Phillip Dorsett in the Miami game.
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At times, Darby does not trust his technique and athleticism. This gets him in trouble especially in off man, like in the above pictures. Know your cushion limits, and be patient. Darby takes two steps into his back pedal, and he has already opened up his hips, Because Dorsett has killed his cushion. He did not back pedal much at FSU, so this something else he would have to work on coming to the pro level.
Another thing I noticed was, Darby was not targeted as much. In 6 games, I only counted 20 over targets. Out of those 20 targets, 7 balls were actually caught for completions. That gave opposing quarterbacks a 35% completion percentage verses him. He also seems to struggle with playing the ball, and catching. Dropped a sure pick-6, because he fought the ball away instead of looking it into his hands, and making the catch.