By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ron Darby wore a somewhat bug-eyed look as a stranger in a strange town when he addressed the media Saturday afternoon, after the Eagles acquired the 5-foot-11, 195-pound 2015 second-round draft choice from the Buffalo Bills, in exchange for receiver Jordan Matthews and the Eagles’ third-round 2018 draft pick.
Darby, 23, is supposed to be the salve for what appears to be the Eagles’ Achilles Heel at cornerback. Whether he could be is anyone’s guess. He could be a “smart” acquisition, one of those reclamation projects that turns into gold, or he could turn into a flat tire, after playing well as a rookie before dropping off his second season.
“I was pretty surprised (about the trade), but at the end of the day, I feel blessed,” said Darby, who played for Florida State and was taken after the Eagles’ selected Eric Rowe in the second round of the 2015 draft. “Everyone knows me for my speed and I’m willing to come up and tackle; play aggressive and make plays. Last year, I had to finish more. I still made a lot of plays, it was just finishing more. I have to go out there and continue to compete.
“My goal right now is to come in and learn the playbook from the vets. Corner is not that difficult. Once you get the concepts down, and remember the names of the plays and things, it comes pretty fast. This is a young group and they’re working hard. The future is looking bright.”
In two years with Buffalo, Darby has two interceptions and 121 tackles. He has two years left on a four-year, $4.56 million contract.
Darby said he’s more comfortable with press coverage, which is something he has done since college. He’s entering a NFC East with Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant.
Asked if he feels he has something to prove after coming off a down year, Darby said yes. “I feel like I have something to prove to myself and to the fans. I only want to work hard and play hard.
“The last 24 hours were fast. I heard I was being traded. I closed my eyes and opened them and I’m a plane. Closed my eyes and opened them and laying down in a hotel. Closed my eyes and opened them and I’m out here.”
Can Darby help?
“For sure, we’re getting a guy who competes at a very high level, and he played great for two years,” Eagles’ second-year corner Jalen Mills said. “With bringing in Ron that will up everyone else’s competition. Right now, the environment is we’re in camp and that’s what you want, everyone competing. When you’re dog tired, hamstrings are tight, you can’t breathe, but you know there is another guy on the opposite side who is hungry and competing. He feels the exact, same way as you, so that brings the best out of me.”