Breaking Down 2014 NFL Draft Prospect Bradley Roby

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Breaking Down 2014 NFL Draft Prospect Bradley Roby
Michael Conroy

Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft on May 8, and it has been a long road coming.

Roby was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct last offseason. After video evidence, Roby was cleared of all charges, per Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch.

Another, and hopefully final, bump appeared on the road recently. Roby made news after being cited for an OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) on April 22, per 10 News in Ohio.

It seemed that there was a lot of miscommunication going on, and with only two weeks left until the NFL draft Roby decided to clear the air: 

As the above tweet suggests, Roby was well within the legal limit of blood alcohol level after recording a minuscule .008. He continued: 

Roby clearly puts himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it seems that his only off-field issues have been more misunderstandings than actual problems for the young corner.

With the NFL draft coming up May 8-10, let’s take a moment to step away from the legal accusations made against Roby. Instead, let’s focus on some of his tape to see if Bradley Roby, the player, is worthy of a first-round selection.

 

The Bad

Despite his willingness to wrap up or lower his shoulder, Roby is a primarily leg tackler. He usually wraps up your feet and doesn’t let you move, which may be safer for a player of his frame at under 200 pounds (5'11", 194 pounds). This can work against Roby, however, because he will sometimes time his dive early, making himself easily avoidable, as seen in the GIF below:


Roby is a physical player and will often use his hands to slow up a receiver down the field. This is not all bad, but sometimes it can be too much and cause for a penalty, illustrated here:


Now his most vital flaw was clearly visible in the worst game of his collegiate career against Wisconsin, in particular against wide receiver Jared Abbrederis. However, Roby did play better in this game than many think—and better than Abbrederis’ stat line would suggest. But Roby still struggled, and most of it had to do with incorrect timing and poor positioning in coverage.

Abbrederis had the ability to accelerate off his cuts like a slot receiver, and Roby was often either in a bad zone or playing man a step away from him. Take this play, for example:


The clip above shows the bad and the good of Roby against Abbrederis. The route was an out-and-up. Roby was behind the receiver at first and appeared to be sold on the quarterback hitting the out. He committed too early to jumping that route.

When Abbrederis made his final cut Roby had lost his positioning and the receiver was over the top. Roby caught back up to the play, but because the ball was at its high point, there was not enough time for Roby to make a play on the ball.

Roby also has some trouble shedding blockers because he can often be overpowered and usually needs to find his way around them.

 

The Good

Roby is a good tackler and plays very tough for his size. Despite his tendency to wrap up at the legs, he has displayed good ability to tackle high and is willing to lower his shoulder into any receiver or even tight ends, as seen in these two plays:



Roby is a dangerous playmaker coming off the edge as well. He is extremely explosive and generally has a good reaction to the quarterback, seen here:



One of the best traits Roby has, though, is that he is flat-out a football player. He has a ton of heart and cares to make every play that he can, no matter how far away he may be. His level of hustle and toughness make him great, and his athleticism is what separates him.


Roby is also very good with his hands. He tracks the ball and is great at dislodging it. He has top-end speed and does his best to get by blockers when a runner is nearby. He always seems to find his way around the ball.

 

The Verdict

With the good and the bad, Roby seems to be a risk to take in the first round. A risk, however, that could be greatly rewarded.

Roby makes up for his lack of positioning with his athleticism. If he loses an assignment, it does not take long before Roby catches back up.

In press, Roby can be very valuable. He fights with the receiver all the way through the play, which can tire them down. He is not a great jump-ball corner, however, and may find trouble with the bigger receivers in the NFL. Because of this, positioning will be everything in those matchups, and Roby will have to learn to adjust if he wants to become an elite NFL cornerback.

The potential to be great at the next level is there. Roby just needs to hone his skills and become more consistent.

 

Draft Day

One of the biggest benefits to being Bradley Roby is that he is a cornerback, and this league is full of cornerback needy teams.

The first team I could see selecting a cornerback is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all the way at pick No. 7. This is a bit too high in the draft for Roby to go, though, so I would fall back a bit. A team like the Tennessee Titans could pull the trigger on him at pick No. 11.

After that, I think it is wide open. At least five more teams might look to take a cornerback in the first round.

Basing things on the best fit, a team like the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 22 or the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 24 would be ideal and also the most likely scenarios.

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