'Overlooked' veteran cornerback tabbed as free agent fit for the Lions

The Detroit Lions need to add some cornerback help, and an off-the-radar veteran coming off a solid season has been labeled as a free agent fit.

Cooper Neill/GettyImages

On the list of offseason needs for the Detroit Lions, cornerback stands at the top. Depth, a legit No. 1, etc...nothing should be out of play in free agency or the draft.

Bleacher Report's Alex Ballentine has identified some overlooked veterans on the free agent market, and teams that should have them on their radar. A veteran cornerback is on the list, and it's not surprising the Lions have been tabbed as a team who should be interested.

"Ronald Darby seems to be flying under the radar despite a stellar 2023 season with the Baltimore Ravens. Darby was sixth in the league in passer rating allowed and had the lowest average target separation (0.9 yards) in the league.

"The reality is that Darby has been a solid starter for years. He's had a few seasons hampered by injuries, but he's only given up a passer rating of 100.0 or more once in the last six years."

"There are some concerns that will likely depress Darby's market. He's 30 years old, and he's had two ACL tears in his career. But none of that seemed to hurt him this season. The veteran has elite speed and didn't show signs of slowing down last season. If he stays healthy, he should outperform whatever contract he's likely to receive based on his age and injury history."

Last season, Darby played in 16 games for Baltimore (seven starts) with 28 total tackles and seven pass breakups. While he didn't have an interception, he allowed just a 63.3 passer rating in his coverage.

2024 NFL Free Agency: Ronald Darby could be ideal fit for Detroit Lions

Detroit ranked 27th in the league in pass defense (247.4 yards allowed per game) last season, with 28 touchdowns allowed through the air. Their cornerbacks were too often easy marks for opposing passers.

As the Lions look to make savvy additions to their locker room and the cornerback depth chart, Darby is intriguing.

There could be concerns about Darby's long-term health after his ACL injuries, there should be no worries about his work ethic. He spoke passionately about that last August when asked about his rehab.

"When it comes to the ACL, it's really about the work you put into it. I was busting my (expletive) rehabbing (and) running. I was having two-a-days all through the week so I made sure I put the load on my body knowing that I wasn't in OTA's and I wasn't in the first half of camp. I made sure I did more so I could be ready and have confidence on it."

With that drive and mindset, Darby was able to return to full health and have a solid season in 2023. He would seem to fit well with the Lions based on that, at a low cost. To say nothing of what he could contribute on the field and in the locker room.


Next. 3 moves the Detroit Lions must make to reach Super Bowl LIX. 3 moves the Detroit Lions must make to reach Super Bowl LIX. dark