The 2014 NFL Draft is a little over two weeks away. Day one will take place on May 8th. The San Francisco 49ers hold the 30th pick. I will be taking a look at some possible options for the 49ers and how they could impact their already talented roster. First up is Ohio State corner back Bradley Roby.
I had Roby as my top rated corner coming into the 2013 season. Watching his 2012 film convinced me that he was going to be an impact player in the NFL. I liked his physical nature, especially when it came to defending against the run. The 2013 season got off to a tough start for Roby because he missed the season opener. He remains one of the top rated corners and his style of play is very likely to transfer over to the next level.
“It wasn’t what I expected. I had a lot of hype going into last season. First half of the season didn’t go as I expected. Me not playing that first game, my mindset in camp wasn’t where it should have been. Missing the first game, I didn’t get as many reps in practice as I normally would have. At corner, reps are everything. Training your eyes to be in the right place at the right time, I kind of got away from that. I can be a shutdown corner. It is definitely something that I can do and I plan to do that.”
Roby is one of the best athletes in this draft class at the corner position. He is at his best when in man coverage. He can play zone but at times he will bite on double moves because of his aggressiveness. Roby has the speed to run with most receivers. He has the quickness and change of direction ability to stick with most slot receivers especially when he is able to press them at the line of scrimmage. This will allow him to contribute right away in the NFL. Roby can also blitz out of the nickel position. He is a willing defender when it comes to covering the run as well. I saw him take on blocks and still make the tackle on running plays. Teams will also have trouble getting yards after the catch when they try to throw screens to the wide receivers that Roby is assigned to. There have been some questions about his ball skills but to his credit, Roby does have 35 passes defended in the last two seasons.
How will he help the 49ers?
Bradley Roby is an instant upgrade at the nickel spot. His feisty nature will mesh well with the physical, tough defensive unit that the 49ers put on the field. Roby has the athleticism and loose hips that is needed to excel in the 49ers system. He is already experienced at playing off man and has above average zone awareness. Additionally, Roby has experience on special teams. He has worked as a gunner during his time at Ohio State. Roby has the potential to develop into a number one corner that can stay with his assigned receiver all over the field including the slot.
NFL Comparison: Carlos Rogers. Most 49ers fans may not want to hear that as a comparison for a possible player that the team could draft but I feel it is the most applicable. Think more of the Rogers from the 2011 season. Both have above average coverage abilities. Roby is faster as far as straight line speed is concerned. Rogers was the primary nickel corner for the 49ers and that is the new role that Roby would take over. They are similar in size as well. Despite their size, both are more than willing to mix it up against the run.
5-11 194 pounds
31 1/2 inch arms
10 1/4 inch hands
4.39 40 yd dash
4.04 20 yd shuttle
38 1/2 inch vertical
10.3 broad jump
17 reps bench press