4 NFC East free agents that could take the Panthers to the next level

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Ronald Darby
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) Ronald Darby /
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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Ronald Darby /

Ronald Darby – CB

  • 2020 team – Washington Football Team

Ronald Darby played the first full season of his career in 2020 and showed what he can do when healthy. He isn’t a number one, shutdown corner type of guy, but would slot in well at a No. 2 spot.

This is a place the Carolina Panthers have been trying to fix since the departure of Josh Norman in free agency.

Darby shows the ability to be around the ball and affect the pass with 16 passes defended on the year while holding opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of 81.0 and a completion percentage of just 54. He also shows a willingness to move up into the box when the need arises and the ability to tackle is still there for all to see.

While Darby has historically struggled in that area, he did show an improvement last year with only six missed tackles to go along with his 55 successful ones.

If Rasul Douglas decides to walk in free agency, Darby could be a nice piece to slot in beside Donte Jackson and give second-year player Troy Pride Jr. some time to sit on the sideline and develop. But only on a deal drawn up with some insurance if the injury bug finds him again and the Panthers are put back into the position they were in last year.

While Darby may not be the flashiest name in free agency this year, he could be a solid complementary piece to an up-and-coming Panthers defense in need of depth and leadership.