Sun Devil Football's Frank Darby Selected by Falcons in NFL Draft
TEMPE, Ariz. – For the third consecutive season, a Sun Devil Football wide receiver heard his name called in the NFL Draft as Frank Darby was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 187th pick overall and the third pick of the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Darby becomes the 254th all-time Sun Devil to be selected in the NFL Draft. He joins N'Keal Harry and Brandon Aiyukas the third Sun Devil receiver in the last three years to be selected in the draft.
It is the eighth consecutive NFL Draft with at least one Sun Devil selected. Since 1961, ASU has had at least one player selected in each draft with the exception of the 2013 NFL Draft.
This is the first time ASU has had three consecutive seasons with a wide receiver drafted since the NFL Draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994. Regardless of even that, it is the first time ASU has had wide receivers drafted in three consecutive years since 1977-79 in Larry Mucker, John Jefferson (Round 1, 14th overall), Chris DeFrance, respectively.
Darby finished his Sun Devil career with 1,317 total receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. He added a rushing touchdown as a freshman as well.
Known for his big-play prowess, Darby finished his career averaging 19.7 receiving yards per catch on 67 career catches. Among all receivers in ASU history with at least 50 catches, that 19.7 yards per catch numbers ranks fifth all-time and the most at ASU since Matt Miller accounted for a 19.5 yards per reception clip on 69 catches from 2002-05.
Darby exploded onto the scene in 2019 as he earned Pac-12 honorable mention accolades with 616 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
That season, he hauled in a touchdown pass in four straight games in the back half of the season and accounted for two touchdowns in three of those outings. He had seven touchdowns over the four-game span (UCLA-USC-Oregon State-Oregon). Prior to the UCLA game, he had five total receiving touchdowns in his previous 30 career games. In those four games, he has made 16 catches for 387 yards (24.2 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns
His 125-yard performance in the upset victory over No. 6 Oregon was the fifth 100+ yard game of his career.
Darby's 19.87 yards per reception in 2019 were 10th in the country and second among Pac-12 receivers.
When targeted in 2019, Darby posted a 133.1 NFL quarterback rating (31 catches for 616 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions) – good for the 21st-highest total among all wide receivers nationally and top-10 among those that return this season.
Darby is the seventh in Sun Devil program history to be drafted by the Falcons and the first since linebacker Robert James in the fifth round of the 2008 Draft. The most prominent Sun Devil-Falcon alumni is likely Gerald Riggs, who finished his career with 8,188 rushing yards and 69 touchdowns from 1982-1991 – seven of those coming with the Falcons.
Riggs was the all-time leading rusher among Sun Devil alumni in the NFL and recorded 21 more touchdowns than any other running back from the Sun Devil annals. Only Charley Taylor (79 receiving touchdowns) was responsible for more touchdowns among rushers and receivers.