The Buffalo Bills didn't have a first round pick in the 2015 NFL draft, but Ronald Darby, their second round pick, sure played like one. In his rookie season, Darby was nothing short of spectacular for the Bills.
As a rookie, Darby started in 15 games with the Bills. During that time, Darby recorded 68 total tackles, 21 passes defensed, and two interceptions. If his interception total had been higher, there's a good chance he would have won Defensive Rookie of the Year over Marcus Peters. Even though Darby didn't win that award, he made a name for himself in 2015.
Just how impressive was Darby as a rookie? The MMQB podcast ranked the NFL's top 15 cornerbacks and Darby was No. 14 on their list. Andy Benoit, Jeff Irwin, and Robert Mays each voted, with points being attached to each vote (15 points for 1st place, 1 point for 15th place). Mays didn't include Darby on his top 15, but Benoit had the CB at No. 14 and Irwin had Darby at No. 8.
During the podcast, which you can listen to here, Benoit mentioned that the Bills put Darby in solo matchup coverage on the perimeter as a rookie and he fared very well. Benoit added that Darby has a good sense for the ball's arrival and that he played a very physical style as a rookie.
Darby set the bar high in his first season in the NFL and there's no reason to believe that he won't continue to improve as a player.null