The Broncos' newest cornerback may not have been to Denver before, but that's no damper on his spirits.
In an interview with KOA NewsRadio on Wednesday, Ronald Darby discussed his decision to join the Broncos for the first time.
"I'm very excited," Darby said. "I heard some guys' praise. I'm real close with [free-agent cornerback De'Vante] Bausby; he was there last year, so he was telling me about how everything is out there and telling me I'm going to like it and everything. But I'm excited, once again, just to get out there and play."
Darby said that he was able to get confident in his prospective fit on defense through his conversations with Bausby and from his initial conversations with Head Coach Vic Fangio over the phone.
"[Fangio] explained how they run the defense and how things are and how corner play is and everything," Darby said. "Also, like I said, I talked to Bausby. He said he really liked the defense as well. So outside of that, from what I heard, it's a great defense."
Darby's role will become clear in the months to come as the Broncos roster gets set, but for now, the six-year veteran expressed comfort in whatever role the team chooses for him.
"It really don't matter — wherever the team needs me the most," Darby said. "I can play both. I'm comfortable playing both. I started off playing left when I got there in Buffalo because I had [Stephon] Gilmore on the other side of me and he was on the right-hand side. So I didn't really have to move. Then in Philly I was more on the right side than I was on the left. Then, last year with Washington, I had Kendall [Fuller] on the right side so I could stay on the left. So either-or is good for me."
Regardless, after his six years in the NFL, Darby leans on his professionalism as the backbone for his career, and that won't change as he starts his time in Denver.
"I'm going to come in, I'm going to work hard, I'm going to study, I don't complain — I'm just going to go out there and get my job done," Darby said. "That's what I aim to do each week on the field."
With Darby's help, Denver will hope to find similar success as to what Washington was able to accomplish in 2020. Washington's pass defense held opponents to the second-fewest yards through the air as Darby recorded 16 pass breakups, the NFL's fifth-best mark that season.
But aside from the on-field production, Darby's biggest accomplishment was putting together his first season playing all 16 games. He missed just three games in his first two seasons but in 2018, he suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Two years later, he was as healthy as he'd ever been for an entire year.
"It was a blessing," Darby said. "I just knew coming off my ACL, that next year I knew was going to be fighting through it — like, fighting through stuff as far as my leg and things. Once I got over that hurdle, I felt great. That's what I showed last year, that I could be on the field and stay on the field. I just had to get over that little hurdle, that's all."
Below the Fold
In ESPN's running free-agency grades article, Jeremy Fowler assessed Denver's decision to add Darby to the defense. "The 27-year-old Darby had a strong bounce-back season in Washington, and some teams saw good value in the second-tier corner range," Fowler wrote. "A Vic Fangio defense could probably have success with an orange cone at cornerback. And since Darby is a lot better than an orange cone, he'll make enough plays to justify most of this deal."