ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Fox describes All-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby as having “great ability, great speed, great quickness, great athleticism.”
Roby describes himself this way: “I’m not a bad guy.”
The Ohio State star had a couple of run-ins with the law that might have hurt his draft stock but didn’t scare away the Denver Broncos.
General manager John Elway said those transgressions helped the big fourth-year cornerback slide down the draft board enough for the AFC champs to grab him with the penultimate pick in the NFL draft Thursday night.
“We thought he was a top-15 talent. So, that’s why we’re thrilled to get him at 31,” Elway said. “I think there’s no question if he hadn’t had the couple of issues that he’s had, there’s no way he would have been there for us at 31. So, those are, hopefully for him, learning experiences and he’s 21 years old and young guys are going to make mistakes.”
Roby was suspended for the Buckeyes’ first game last season after being accused of getting in a bar fight. Criminal charges in that case were eventually dismissed. And he recently resolved a citation for operating a vehicle while under the influence by pleading guilty to a reduced charge, his agent, Michael Perrett, said in a statement to Pro Football Talk.
“I want to start off by saying I’m not a bad guy,” Roby said. “It was not a bar fight. No punches were thrown. It was a situation where the bouncer, where the aggressors were against me. I just retaliated. I made a bad decision. I chose to push the guy and that’s what happened. And the next situation, it came out that I was drinking and driving and I was not. I was asleep in my car and it was parked.”
Roby said he understands why his character was being questioned, but “I can honestly say in those situations I have never committed a crime. I’m going to rest my case on that. … I’m not a bad guy, not a guy you have to worry about off the field.”
What Roby and the Broncos are hoping for is that he’ll be a guy opponents have to worry about aplenty.
He’s physical and fast — he ran a 4.39 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
Roby started 36 games for the Buckeyes after redshirting his freshman year. He broke up three dozen passes and collected eight interceptions.
Elway said the Broncos weighed his arrest record, too.
“When we’re making our selection notes we definitely look at those and look at the history as well as the character side, that’s very important. We also looked at the positive things about Bradley and there are a lot of positive things there,” Elway said. “We realize that he’s a young guy that has made some mistakes.
“Obviously, we expect those things not to happen when he comes here. We believe that we’ve got a tremendous locker room, so I think he will get a lot of guidance there in the locker room. So, we knew those things were there. But again, him sitting there on the board — he was the guy that helped us the most. So we were thrilled he was still sitting there.”
Roby joins an already solid group of cornerbacks that includes free agent acquisition Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.
Harris is recovering from a partially torn ACL that required surgery and kept him out of the Super Bowl and might slow him down at the start of the season. The Broncos jettisoned star cornerback Champ Bailey this offseason.
Elway added thumpers to the back end in free agency with the signings of Talib, strong safety T.J. Ward and defensive end DeMarcus Ware, and Roby fits that same mold.
“He’s got the mentality. He’ll stick his nose in there in the run game and he’ll tackle, and he’ll fit right in with the defense we’re putting together right now with ‘Qib on the other side and T.J. Ward coming in and the mentality we want on that defense,” Elway said.
Elway said the Broncos tried to move up in the draft to address other needs, but “the price was too high,” and “then there were some calls for us to move down,” but then with Roby slipping, Elway decided against trading out of the first round for the second time in three years.
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