Denver Broncos: Grading the first round of the draft

With the 31st pick of the NFL draft the Denver Broncos select: Bradley Roby, cornerback, Ohio State.

It was a surprise that Roby was available. I had the Broncos selecting him in round one in my first and second mock drafts, but didn’t in later mocks. I figured he would be gone, making the Broncos’ decision to trade out of the first round easier. Roby being available was even more surprising when Justin Gilbert went #8 overall. Going that early, I thought all the first-round graded cornerbacks would be gone by the mid-20s and teams would even begin reaching for lower graded cornerbacks.

Bradley Roby has the coverage skills and athleticism to make an impact as a rookie

Bradley Roby has the coverage skills and athleticism to make an impact as a rookie

It didn’t happen because there were five reaches in the first round and none at cornerback. Those reaches were Ja’Wuan James, Marcus Smith, Jimmie Ward, Deone Bucannan, and the biggest reach of all, Dominque Easley. Those players could have been taken in the second round.

Roby has the natural talent, skills, and athleticism to be selected in the top 15. However, he has off-field issues and focus problems. Because of those two issues, selecting him at #31 was right the right spot. If he can fix those two things, he will challenge for major playing time as a rookie. The Broncos like him because he is physical and really enjoys attacking in run support. Roby fits exactly what they need and they have to be happy he fell into their lap. They may want to grab another cornerback for more depth on day three, but if not they will be fine.

First round grade A-

During day two, the Broncos need to get an offensive lineman (OT or OG), middle linebacker and wide receiver. They will need to trade back into one of the rounds to get all three. If they can get as lucky as they did in round one, they should come away very happy.