For years the Denver Broncos searched the collegiate and professional ranks to find top-tier cornerbacks that could propel them back to the Super Bowl. In the 2014 offseason, the franchise had already signed Aqib Talib to a monster deal in free agency and had Chris Harris Jr. on their roster, arguably giving them the best tandem in the National Football League. But John Elway wasn’t done amassing talent on the position, and was able to secure high-profile Ohio State product Bradley Roby late in the first round of the draft.
Name: Bradley Roby
Experience: 5th season
College: Ohio State
His selection provided the Broncos a trio of extraordinarily talented corners with impeccable ball skills that could match up against the league’s best aerial assaults week in and week out. With Talib, Harris Jr. and Roby in the fold, the No Fly Zone was born and within a few years — their pass defending prowess played a major part in helping the team win their Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers. Now that Talib is with the Los Angeles Rams, the Broncos are hoping Roby can take another big step in his contract year and cement himself as a top boundary corner in 2018.
In his first four seasons with the Broncos, Roby has improved every year. Playing opposite of Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, he has been targeted a lot — but that hasn’t stopped him from making a hefty amount of game-changing plays. To date, he has accumulated 186 tackles, 3 sacks, 48 passes defended (17 in last year alone — a franchise best), 6 interceptions, 2 touchdowns and 5 forced fumbles. Since his rookie season, his snap count has increased greatly each season and in last year’s campaign, was on the field for nearly 70 percent of all defensive snaps. He has top-tier athleticism, physicality and the ability to mach up against any receiver in the league.
Bradley Roby could be ready for a breakout campaign! pic.twitter.com/WgroDCS8ZQ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 2, 2018
While Roby’s consistency improved demonstrably in 2017, in years prior it has been an issue. There would be games where he would have big plays, but the next game he’d give up several detrimental ones. The biggest issue I have seen over the past several seasons is being susceptible to double moves, or the occasionally lapse on his assignment in coverage. Though the latter aspect has been improved on greatly, as Roby has become a true student of the game in respect to film study and game day preparation.
He’s a young corner that’s played a lot of football here. When I watch him play at a high level, I’m not surprised by that. That’s what he should do. He’s a first-round pick. He’s played a bunch of ball. He should get better and better each year and become a one or two for us in the future.” — Head Coach Vance Joseph on Bradley Roby at the end of the 2017 season
According to Head Coach Vance Joseph, Roby will be in a competition with free agent acquisition Tramaine Brock for the team’s second cornerback spot. I expect Roby to win that competition quite easily and believe he is poised for another great season with the Broncos. If so, John Elway will have a big decision to make at the end of the season in respect to retaining the highly-talented corner. There is no doubt he will have to bust out the piggy bank to afford his services beyond this year — because a contract extension for the fifth-year pro is going to be astronomical given the market for top-tier corners in the NFL.