ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The pick: The Broncos selected Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby with the 31st pick of the first round. Roby started 35 games over the past three seasons for the Buckeyes and athletically was one of the best cornerbacks on the board, having run a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. It was a value pick, likely the best player on the Broncos’ draft board by the time the 31st pick rolled around.
My take: Certainly Roby has the reach and height (5-foot-11¼) head coach John Fox likes in his cornerbacks -- Fox broke into the league as a defensive backs coach for Hall of Famer Chuck Noll’s staff in Pittsburgh -- and cornerback is a bit of a need position for the Broncos. Chris Harris Jr. is coming off ACL surgery, Champ Bailey was released, and even though they signed Aqib Talib in free agency, the Broncos want more depth at the position.
The concerns are effort and maturity off the field, with incidents including a misdemeanor arrest in July of 2013 that resulted in a suspension for Ohio State's season opener. But the Broncos spent plenty of time evaluating Roby’s character and felt strong enough about him to make the pick.
Still grinding the D: After jumping into free agency with a pile of checks for defensive players including Talib, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and safety T.J. Ward, executive vice president/general manager John Elway still made a defensive player the team’s opening pick of the draft for the fourth consecutive year. Roby figures to compete with Kayvon Webster, a 2013 draft pick, to play the outside spot opposite of Talib in the nickel.
What’s next: A deep draft class of wide receivers will present some options in coming rounds, as well as some right tackle candidates and middle linebackers.