Florida State put another cornerback into the NFL as Ronald Darby was selected by Buffalo Bills in the second, with the 52 overall pick.
Darby is a former 5-star cornerback recruit from Washington, D.C and picked Florida State over a number of SEC powers. He was the ACC's defensive rookie of the year in 2012, showcasing his tremendous speed.
And it is that speed that got Darby drafted. Darby ran the second fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine. Darby has excellent makeup speed. And while he is not always a willing or effective tackler, he does show a decent ability to play bump and run coverage.
ACC teams noticed. Darby was targeted only once every 10 passing plays by FSU's opponents, the lowest rate of any draft-eligible cornerback. That's serious respect.
Darby's most obvious flaw is his lack of ball skills. He struggles to locate the ball in the air despite being in phase with a receiver, and famously, cannot catch -- or at least did not catch interception while at Florida State. Darby was also constantly banged and bruised during his time at Florida State, though he usually played through it and rarely missed a game.
In year one it is realistic to expect Darby to step in and be an immediate starter, and the 5'11, 195-pounder could blossom into an excellent player in time if he can learn to locate and catch interceptions.
Florida State has a long history of excellent NFL cornerbacks, including (from earliest to latest) Bobby Butler, Bobby Jackson, J.T. Thomas, Lee Nelson, Lee McMillan, Martin Mayhew, Deion Sanders, Terrell Buckley, Corey Sawyer, Samari Rolle, Mario Edwards, Bryant McFadden, Antonio Cromartie, Patrick Robinson, Mike Harris, Xavier Rhodes, and Lamarcus Joyner, to name a few.
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