Alden Darby, S, Arizona State (HT: 5’11”; WT: 192 lbs)
- Good straight-line speed, especially when crashing down from the safety position and meeting the ball-carrier at the line of scrimmage.
- When he can keep the play in front of him, Darby is a much more effective player. His ability to track the ball and jump routes translate to the NFL well
- Short-area quickness is good for a strong safety. He can close on the ball quickly and cause incompletions or interceptions when his timing is right.
- His ability to finish tackles at the collegiate level was good because he is a good form tackler and pursues ball-carriers at good angles. In his matchup against Oregon State speedster Brandin Cooks, he overcame the speed disparity several times to make the tackle in open space or near the sideline.
- Possesses a good backpedal, showing better footwork than what most safeties have in man coverage. He has some of the foundation needed to improve in this area, now needing coaching to become a more versatile player.
- Very experienced player entering the NFL, after he played in at least 11 games each season since his freshman year, starting his final two seasons.
- Played his best against top competition, notching his career high in tackles and single-game interceptions against conference rivals.
- Lacks NFL size for a safety, with the bigger concern being his weight. His frame might not be able to handle additional weight and maintain his speed.
- With his size, he might need to switch to cornerback, where his agility and stiff hips become a major concern. The ability to change directions in a fluid motion is crucial because it reduces the amount of movement used to follow the receiver.
- He flashes the ability to read plays, but that skill is far too inconsistent right now. Considering that NFL defenses are much more complex, he has to process what the offense is doing much more effectively than what he currently does. That’s a tough skill to greatly improve.
- Physically, he doesn’t have a chance against tight ends or most receivers due to size and strength but also technique. To get onto the field as a full-time player, he needs to sharpen his discipline and movement efficiency.
- Leaves his zone too often, leaving open receivers downfield for a big play. Sometimes he will try to jump underneath routes when he doesn’t need to, and other times he freezes on play-action passes long enough to get burned deep. His discipline and anticipation absolutely has to get better for him to stay on the field.
- Two-time All-PAC-12 honoree, including 2013 First Team
- Heavily involved in community service, and was named a 2013 Senior CLASS Award Finalist
- Was the first Sun Devil to earn the privilege of wearing the Pat Tillman practice jersey
- Former 2-star recruit from Long Beach, Calif.
Alden Darby was an impact player at Arizona State, but his physical limitations will make it difficult to become even a role player in the NFL. If he can go to a team with the luxury of developing his technique, he could make it in the NFL as a backup and special teams contributor. His best position moving forward is likely as a slot cornerback.
Draft Projection: Seventh Round-UDFA
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