Bradley Roby | Cornerback | Junior | Ohio State | 5'11, 193 pounds
An All-American as a redshirt sophomore, Bradley Roby is poised to become the next great defensive back from Ohio State. Roby has come quite a way from being simply a three-star wide receiver commit at Vanderbilt. He's become an instinctive cornerback who relies on quick feet and fast hands to break up passes.
In 2012, Roby had 19 passes defended in 11 games. At 1.73 per game, it was the highest average in the nation. Roby had just two interceptions, however, both coming against Nebraska. Equalling those passes defended totals will be difficult this season. Teams will likely avoid Roby, despite him often covering the opposing team's best receiver when he's not just playing in the boundary. But don't expect Roby back for his senior season. He's already said he's going pro, telling reporters "This is going to be my last year. Everybody knows that."
What he does well
Roby's speed is apparent, whether it's on corner blitzes, getting after a running back or breaking on a pass. Roby can close in a hurry. A lot of Roby's pass breakups were a consequence of his timing and speed.
If he's matched up against speed receivers in the NFL, Roby should excel. He has the agility and pure explosiveness to cover receivers deep.
Roby does a lot of the little things the right way. According to Ohio State secondary coach Kerry Coombs, Roby's film study is "extraordinary." He plays on Ohio State's coverage units, and has blocked a punt. Roby is a brash cornerback, and as a junior he's going to be relied on to mentor younger players.
While Roby isn't a powerful tackler, or a staunch run supporter, he does a nice job directing the play to the inside by maintaining on the outside. He can get physical to beat blocks and will, on occasion, lay a nice hit on a running back.
What he needs to improve on
At times Roby will get out of position trying to make a play on the ball. In attempt at jumping a route, he'll play the quarterback more than the wide receiver. Because of that, Roby can be susceptible to pump fakes and double moves.
Maybe it's a consequence of the Ohio State scheme, but Roby doesn't press much. Ohio State often plays man and cover-4. In man situations, Roby is usually off the line. How well he can redirect a receiver and disrupt route timing is somewhat unknown.
There are a couple flaws with Roby that he just can't improve on. His listed size is decent, but nothing out of the ordinary. His issue with a shoulder injury will be a legit red flag for NFL teams. He was held out of the spring game partly because of it this year and it forced him to miss a game in 2012.
Roby's junior season will be about maximizing chances. Teams will likely run more against Ohio State's defense, which features an inexperienced front seven. When they do throw, it will probably be in the opposite direction from Roby. Because of that, his 2012 tape is going to be as much or more important than what he does as a junior. Fortunately for Roby, his sophomore tape shows the speed and playmaking skill to be a first-round pick.