Frank Darby

Arizona State wide receiver Frank Darby (84) scores a touchdown against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. USC won 31-26. (AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Another Sun Devil is heading to the NFL.

On Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons drafted wide receiver Frank Darby in the 6th round with the 187th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Darby came to ASU as a two-star recruit in the 2016 class from Jersey City, New Jersey. The Sun Devil staff at the time toyed with the idea of playing him on defense before keeping him at wide receiver.

After a redshirt season in 2016, he flashed the deep-threat potential in 2017 that would define his career, gaining 234 yards on just nine catches, including two touchdowns. In 2018, he caught 21 passes for 421 yards and two touchdowns. The following year, he posted career-bests with 31 receptions for 616 yards and eight scores. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Darby suffered a rib injury in the season opener against USC. He would play only one more game last season, catching five passes for 44 yards and a touchdown against UCLA.

Despite modest production, Darby earned positive reviews during the Senior Bowl practices in January. The 6-foot, 201-pound Darby brings intriguing physical tools, but must improve his route running and overcome struggles he has had with dropped passes.

Darby quickly became a fan favorite not just for his on-field play, but for his energetic presence and outgoing personality. Rare was a time that there wasn't a smile on his face or he wasn't dancing on the sidelines. His relentless work ethic transformed his body and earned him the "Stupid Swole" nickname. 

With the Falcons, Darby will become the latest weapon for quarterback Matt Ryan. Along with receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, Atlanta added tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft.

Darby becomes the third Sun Devil wide receiver selected in the last three drafts, following N'Keal Harry (2019 to New England) and Brandon Aiyuk (2020 to San Francisco), who were each first round selections.

 

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