It’s pretty obvious that the New Orleans Saints need to address the gaping hole at the cornerback position. While it is rumored that the Black and Gold will fix the issue opposite Keenan Lewis via the free agent market, some intriguing prospects are drifting around the rookie class in preparation for the 2015 NFL Draft.
One specific talent Sean Payton and company should keep an eye on is Florida State product Ronald Darby, who displayed his lightning speed at the scouting combine on Monday.
With excellent quickness and change of direction, Darby has the potential to be a press-coverage master at the next level. The former high school track star may be shorter than preferred, but he is certainly not undersized and shows great weight distribution with a solid-built frame.
Darby has been criticized for his lack of toughness, but that is something that can be enhanced under the proper care of a solid coaching staff. He likes to stay on top of opponents and often relies on his speed and press instincts, which sometimes affects his execution, allowing receptions underneath. Again, this is something that can be improved on the practice field.
2015 NFL Scouting Combine Measurements:
Weight: 193 LBS
Arm Length: 31 3/8 inches
Hands: 8 5/8 inches
40-yard dash: 4.38 seconds (2nd among CBs)
Bench press (225 LBS): 12 reps
Vertical jump: 41.5 inches
Broad jump: 129.0 inches
3-cone drill: 6.94 seconds
20-yard shuffle: 4.14 seconds
From Seminoles.com on Darby:
"Three-year standout cornerback who started in 2013-14 after capturing ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2012…allowed just nine completions and no touchdowns on 27 targets during 2013 national championship season…finished career with 79 tackles and 16 pass break-ups over 42 career games (23 starts)."
In 2014, Ronald Darby started all 14 games and recorded a career-high 43 tackles, as well as four pass breakups and a forced fumble and was an All-ACC selection (third team) for the second straight year.
Since the scouting combine came to a close Monday afternoon, the former Seminole has made a climb up numerous draft boards. He’s speedy, solid, has man and zone capabilities and could be a nice option for the New Orleans Saints in the second or possibly third round of the selection process.
Of course, this is all based off whether or not the Black and Gold address the need at corner when the free agency period begins March 10. Regardless, Patrick Robinson (also a former Seminole) and Corey White just aren’t cutting it in the Big Easy.