Heading into last season the Buffalo Bills were projected to have one of the best cornerback tandems in the entire NFL. One year later the names have slightly changed but expectations remain the same.
Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore today were both ranked inside the top-15 cornerbacks in the league by Gary Gremlin and Andy Benoit of the Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB). Gilmore landed at number six while Darby was named the 14th-best in the NFL. Not too shabby for a rookie 2nd-round pick, eh?
Before Corey Graham slid over to safety in 2015, he was originally included along with Gilmore on Bleacher Report’s list of top secondary duos. That obviously never materialized as Darby hit the ground running at Bills summer camp and the rest is history.
Benoit of the MMQB cited the physicality of both Darby and Gilmore and talked about how the former was assigned “solo coverage on the perimeter” often and answered the challenge with strong play. The former Florida State Seminole did waiver at times throughout the year but put together a strong enough performance to finish second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.
On a scale of excitement from 1 to 10, the “Bills should be at a 9.5 over Darby” added Benoit. Gilmore on the other hand is coming off a 2015 campaign where he recorded career-highs in passes defended (18) and interceptions (3) despite only playing in 12 games due to injury.
It’s encouraging for Bills fans’ to see that even though personnel changes are inevitable year to year, the defense will still have a strong secondary which is essential in today’s NFL. It reminds me of dare I say, the Nate Clements-Antoine Winfield days!
One can only hope but for now, we’ll take the high rankings for Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore.