The Denver Broncos officially kicked off training camp on July 27. In an interesting development, cornerback Ronald Darby has started each practice working with the wide receivers, according to KOA Colorado’s Benjamin Allbright.
Darby is likely just trying to improve his hands. Darby has not recorded a single interception over the past two seasons. His last interception was on December 1, 2019, when he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Darby has had opportunities. In 2020, he dropped two interceptions per SIS DataHub.
The practice is already paying off for Darby. On Saturday, he picked off Russell Wilson on a back shoulder throw.
Darby has been good in pass coverage. In 2021, he allowed a completion percentage of 54.3 percent when targeted, which is well below the league average of 64.8 percent.
If Darby can force more turnovers, he can elevate his game to another level.
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Broncos: Darby Is the Sixth-Best Press Coverage CB in the NFL
PFF’s Conor McQuiston ranked the best cornerbacks in press coverage during the 2021 NFL season. Darby had the sixth-highest composite score trailing only Trevon Diggs, Jalen Ramsey, Jackrabbit Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
“In the former second-round pick’s return to Denver with new running mate Patrick Surtain II, he fared extremely well in press coverage,” McQuiston wrote. “While Darby did not break up many passes, the data suggests he did an excellent job of preventing targets despite being flanked by another strong outside cornerback. It is unclear how often new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero will task Darby with press coverage, but the veteran should still be strong when asked to do so.”
Darby and Patrick Surtain II should continue to be one of the better cornerback duos in the AFC this season.
Broncos: Surtain Impressing During Training Camp
Speaking of Surtain, he is making a big impression during training camp. On Thursday, offensive tackle Garett Bolles called him a “freak”.
“Surtain’s a freak,” Bolles said per Broncos team reporter Aric DiLalla. “I’m just going to tell y’all that right now. If you don’t know that, turn on the film. It speaks for itself. I don’t know how you game-plan against a guy like that because he’s just going to eat you alive. I’m grateful he’s on my side.”
On Saturday, head coach Nathaniel Hackett noted Surtain’s confidence.
“You can see the confidence moving through his body,” Hackett said.
Surtain himself actually spoke about his confidence.
“I definitely feel more comfortable and more confident out there,” Surtain said per DiLalla. “I’m getting prepared and getting my mind ready each and every day. I definitely feel more confident and comfortable.”
In an exclusive interview with Heavy.com, safety Justin Simmons said the Broncos’ secondary could be the best in the league.
“Obviously, my expectations are going to be the highest out of anybody,” Simmons said. “I think we can be the best secondary in the NFL.”
With Surtain, Darby, Simmons, Kareem Jackson, and K’Waun Williams, the Broncos’ secondary has the talent to match up with anybody. They will be put to test this season playing in the AFC West.