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Five Things To Know About Cornerback Ronald Darby


The Redskins bolstered their secondary by signing cornerback Ronald Darby, the team officially announced April 1.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Darby is entering his sixth NFL season after originally being selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 57 regular season games with 56 starts.

Darby has recorded eight career interceptions for 135 yards in regular season play to complement 251 tackles (224 solo) and 65 passes defensed. He played his first two seasons for the Bills before being traded to Philadelphia, where he spent the past three seasons.

Here are five things to know about the Redskins' newest addition:

1. Darby is yet another free agent signing with local ties.

Tight end Logan Thomas grew up in Virginia, while cornerback Kendall Fuller and safety Sean Davis were born and raised in Maryland and Washington D.C., respectively. All three players are back in the area after signing with the Redskins during free agency.

You can now add Darby to that list. Darby grew up in Oxon Hill, Maryland, and attended Potomac High School, where he played as many as six positions for the Wolverines.

He went on to become a USA Today High School All-American and compete in the Under Armour All-American Game, and 247Sports ranked him as the nation's best cornerback (No. 16 overall prospect) in the Class of 2012. With offers from several college football powerhouses, Darby chose Florida State.

2. Darby was a worldwide high school track star.

Part of Darby's immense potential revolved around his renowned speed.

Not only did he run a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, but he earned multiple honors at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics. He finished fourth in the 100-meter dash (10.61 seconds), third in the 200-meter dash (21.08) and first in the medley relay (1:49.47).

"Darby is by far the fastest guy I've seen in a high school uniform," Gwynn Park football coach Danny Hayes told Capital News Service's Kyle Melnick in 2018. "Darby's gonna do what Darby wants to do."

3. He was named Pro Football Focus' Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Following an illustrious college career that included ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, three conference championships and a BCS National title, Darby was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the 50th pick in 2014. He immediately stood out, both on the team and around the NFL.

In 15 starts, Darby finished sixth in the league with a career-high 21 passes defensed while making a pair of interceptions and recording 68 tackles (career-high 61 solo).

Digging deeper into the statistics, he allowed just 660 receiving yards on 105 targets -- fifth-most of any defender -- and had the seventh-best coverage grade (86.0) among cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus.

Taking all of these factors into account, PFF named Darby as its 2015 Defensive Rookie of the Year and its runner-up for overall Rookie of the Year behind quarterback Jameis Winston.

4. Darby's favorite all-time player is Redskins Hall of Famer Darrell Green.

Darby liked all the Washington, D.C. teams growing up, so it's no surprise that he was an avid fan of the Redskins. His favorite all-time player was a talented corner with lightning speed, kind of like himself: Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green.

"When I first started playing football, we had to bring our own jerseys to practice, and that was the first jersey I wore out there when I first started playing football," Darby told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael. "It was a Darrell Green jersey, the white one."

Darby wore No. 28 in Buffalo because of Green, and he would have donned the same number with the Eagles if it was not already taken. He settled for No. 21, which was the same number as another one of his favorite Redskins: Sean Taylor.

It remains to be seen what number Darby will wear in Washington, but he's ecstatic about finally being able to represent the burgundy and gold.

"Getting to play for the team that you grew up loving, it's kind of like a dream come true."

5. The Redskins added another proven starter to their secondary.

The Redskins have been busy this offseason retooling their cornerbacks room. First they parted ways with veteran Josh Norman. Next they signed the versatile Fuller. Then they traded away Quinton Dunbar, and finally they brought in Darby on a one-year deal.

Assuming Fuller will start, that leaves two positions up for grabs between Darby, Fabian Moreau, 2019 seventh-rounder Jimmy Moreland, Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson -- the last two of whom missed most or all of last season with injuries.

Darby is the most experienced and proven of the group, so he'll likely have the inside track towards starting for his hometown team.

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