Jaguars adddition of Ronald Darby to CB room offers lots of flexibility

• Ronald Darby gives the Jaguars a versatile cornerback.

Sep 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Ronald Darby (28) tackles
Sep 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Ronald Darby (28) tackles / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are filling roster holes early in free agency. Needing to find a replacement for Darious Williams, they've agreed to terms with Ronald Darby, who spent last season with the Baltimore Ravens. While Darby could start opposite Tyson Campbell, he could also line up in the slot, giving the Jags plenty of flexibility in the defensive backfield.

Darby signed a two-year deal worth a max value of $10 million, according to Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report. In Jacksonville, he joins a group that was in need of a boost. Chris Claybrooks and Tre Herndon are hitting the open market, and there's no indication they'll return, leaving Tyson Campbell, Montaric Brown, and Tevaughn Campbell as the only cornerbacks under contract in 2024.

A second-round in 2015, Darby spent his two first seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He was then traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played from 2017-2019. He then had stints with the Washington Commanders and the Denver Broncos before joining the Ravens last year. In total, the Florida State product has appeared in 105 games with 95 starts and has registered eight interceptions and 97 passes defensed.

Heading into Year 10, Darby is still going strong, posting a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 69.5 in 2023. On top of that, he's given up just one touchdown and allowed a 75.2 passer rating when targeted the past two seasons.

Ronald Darby is an intriguing addition to the Jaguars cornerback room

Make no mistake, letting Darious Williams walk stung, especially when you take into account that he was playing at a Pro Bowl-caliber level last season. That said, he wasn't the best fit in defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's scheme, and the team's brass couldn't pass up on the $11 million they got when they released him.

Meanwhile, Ronald Darby will make in two years what Williams was scheduled to make in 2024. You could make the case that he's older, but that's why he only got a two-year deal. If he keeps playing like he did in Baltimore, he should have no trouble playing out his contract.

Darby's versatility could also be of great use in the Jaguars' secondary. He's mostly played in the boundaries but has lined up in the slot at times, so he could replace Tre Herndon full-time if sophomore Antonio Johnson moves to safety. If that wasn't enough, he gives the Jaguars ample flexibility in the draft.

Even after the addition of Darby, Jacksonville should draft a corner, but they don't have to do it at No. 17. By signing Darby, they can go after a defensive lineman or a wide receiver and wait until the second or third round to add a cornerback prospect. This year's class is particularly stacked, so they should be able to come out of Day 2 with a quality player.

The bottom line is that the Ronald Darby signing alone won't turn the Jacksonville Jaguars into a Super Bowl contender. However, he gives them and Ryan Nielsen an intriguing piece to work with. The fact that they locked him up at a reasonable price makes it even better.

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