Alden Darby's path to the pros officially begins this Saturday with the 89th annual East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fl.
Darby is Arizona State's only representative in this particular all-star showcase but his participation bodes well for his NFL future. An average of 275 East-West Shrine Game alums make NFL rosters each season. Furthermore, over 100 players from last year's game managed to sign with NFL teams.
Darby finished his final season at Arizona State with 72 tackles, two forced fumbles, nine passes deflected and four interceptions from the boundary safety position. His 2013 campaign earned him All-Pac-12 first-team and Senior CLASS Award second-team All-American honors.
According to CBS Sports, Darby ranks as the eighth best strong safety of the 2014 NFL Draft class and is projected to be either a sixth or seventh round selection. Darby certainly has the well-rounded resume and has shown the fundamental soundness to be selected higher. But before he can work his way up draft boards, he'll have to prove his size limitations won't effect his ability to hang with larger tight ends and assist against the run on the professional level. And there's no better time to begin proving that than Saturday.
East-West Shrine Game info
Time: 2:00 p.m. MT
TV: NFL Network