With Julio Jones likely moving on after June 1st, Frank Darby could become a serious part of the Atlanta Falcons’ future receiving corps. Drafted by Atlanta in the sixth round, the Arizona State product was a steal for the Falcons. Atlanta’s receiving group just got a lot roomier without Julio Jones, so young guys like Darby will be able to compete for snaps, learn, develop and prove themselves during these voluntary OTAs that are going on right now.
|6’0”||201 lbs||31 3/4″||9 3/8″|
According to NFL.com, Darby has “impressive deep ball talent.” This was probably his greatest strength as a collegiate player. Watching the film below, you can see how good he was at ASU running deep routes and securing the catch in close coverage. Darby’s deep ball game helped him average over 20 yards per catch during his time with the Sun Devils.
“He’s got a great personality, he’s a good kid and he’s a good teammate. I think not having Brandon Aiyuk out there really exposed the fact that he’s not a primary receiver at all.”National scout for NFC team
In addition to being a deep ball threat, Darby is tough and fast after the catch. He is difficult to bring down, as 20% of his college catches resulted in touchdowns.
Darby’s speed is another factor that intrigued the Falcons. He ran a 4.61 forty-yard dash during his ASU pro-day while clocking 17.75 MPH as his fastest speed. “His top-end speed will create cushions and open up some intermediate throws for him, but the route-running still needs work.” (NFL.com analysis)
Route-running was his Achilles’ heel at Arizona State. The video below does a good job of breaking down what he is doing in each route he runs, however, this is an area of his game that could use some work. The Falcons will surely be working with him on his ability to run routes this summer.
Another notable weakness for the rookie is the fact that he gives away impending route breaks. This is something you will notice in the video above. Often, Darby is unable to hide the route he is going to run due to body position/movements immediately following the snap.
The last weakness for this rookie is he had a high drop rate at ASU. Hopefully, this is something the Falcons can work this first year to address through repetition and practicing while being covered by NFL cornerbacks.
As an NFL prospect, the Falcons got Darby for a steal at 187 overall. He definitely has work to do, but he possesses critical strengths that could make him a starting-caliber wide receiver in a couple of years. Having a good deep ball game is critical for any NFL receiver.
All the Falcons need to do is develop his route-running and decrease his drop rate and he will be a WR2 in a few years. Sitting behind a great receiver like Calvin Ridley will be great for a developmental player such as Frank Darby. Overall, he’s got work to do, however, he could be a WR2 for the Falcons in 2-3 years.