The Denver Broncos have selected Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Roby made a strong argument as perhaps the best defensive back in his class this past season. SB Nation likes only two cornerbacks better: TCU's Jason Verrett and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard. Roby is ranked as the No. 25 overall player on the top 200 big board.
Roby was considered a potential top-10 pick heading into the 2013 season, having just earned second-team All-American honors from The Associated Press in 2012. He slipped a bit in 2013 due to inconsistency, though he was still good enough to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. Roby's size and speed should make him a consistent contributor in the NFL.
Kyle Montgomery of Mile High Report notes that Roby's selection shows that the team could truly focus on the best player available since they'd already addressed issues in the secondary in free agency:
After an aggressive free agency period that saw the Broncos sign safety T.J. Ward, cornerback Aqib Talib, and defensive end DeMarcus Ware, the Broncos entered the 2014 draft without any glaring holes or strong needs. GM John Elway said the team would enter the draft picking the Best Player Available.
In our scouting report of Roby, Dan Kadar writes about his ability to take away his man in coverage.
Roby's biggest strength is his ability to run and cover against any type of wide receiver. When he's playing disciplined, Roby possesses impressive agility to mirror wide receivers, particularly on underneath routes. He's certainly fast enough to keep up on vertical routes against speed receivers. Bigger and stronger wide receivers can give Roby trouble because of his lacking physicality. This is especially notable on jump ball plays. He does, however, know how to body up receivers so they don't create a large window for the quarterback.
Weight: 194 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.39 seconds
Bench press: 17 reps of 225 pounds
Vertical jump: 38.5 inches
Broad jump: 124 inches
20-yard shuttle: 4.04 seconds
Roby was just a hair slower than Verrett and Justin Gilbert, two of the other top cornerbacks in the 2014 draft class, but there's no denying that he has elite speed, which he couples with an excellent frame. He may not be a finished product just yet, but his ceiling is perhaps as high as any defender's in the draft.