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Buckeyes CB Roby slips to Broncos at No. 31

The SportsXchange

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A cornerback of Bradley Roby's measurables and skill set is not typically going to be available with the No. 31 overall pick.

Yet that is where the Denver Broncos selected the Ohio State defensive back in the NFL Draft on Thursday. Roby slipped that low because of the issues that surrounded him.

There was an April 20 arrest for operating a vehicle while impaired, which stemmed from police finding him in a parked car and smelling of alcohol. He also was charged with disorderly conduct last July for an incident that involved a bar fight, but that charge was dismissed.

In a deep draft where hundredths of a second in 40-yard-dash times separated first- from second-rounders, the off-field issues were enough to move the Buckeyes defender down the board to where the Broncos could stand pat and take him with the next-to-last selection of the first round.

"Those were all weighed in," Denver general manager John Elway said. "He's a young guy that has made some mistakes. Obviously, we expect those things not to happen when he comes here, and we believe that we've got a tremendous locker room, so I think he'll get a lot of guidance there.

"We thought he was a top-15 talent. If he hadn't had the couple of issues, there's no way he would have been there at 31."

In the short term, Roby can look to fourth-year veteran Chris Harris Jr. as a high-character example he can follow. Roby also will be an insurance policy in case Harris' recovery from a partial ACL tear does not go as expected. Harris has a contract that expires after the 2014 season, so Roby could factor into the Broncos' long-term plans for the position, too.

For 2014, Roby projects as an outside cornerback in the nickel package. Elway said that Harris is the team's starting right cornerback. However, over the past two years, when Harris started, he moved inside to play slot cornerback on nickel downs.

"We'll play it by ear and see how Chris comes around," Elway said. "I think he's got the ability to play inside and outside, but we'll go into camp (with Roby) on the outside."

Roby's consistency came into question last year, but his physicality and aggressiveness were beyond what is typical for a 5-foot-11, 194-pounder. He fits into the Broncos' offseason overhaul of their defense, which is prioritizing speed and aggression. That led to their signings of cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and Thursday's selection of Roby, who clocked a 4.39 40 at the Scouting Combine.

"He's got all the measurables, and he's got the mentality. He'll stick his nose in there in the run game and tackle," Elway said. "With the mentality that we're putting together on defense, he's going to fit in very well with that."

The Broncos considered trading up or down but opted to stand pat. Elway said the price was too high to move up and that chances to move out of the first round dried up as the Broncos' pick drew closer.

"Teams said, 'No, we think we can still get our guy where we are,'" Elway said.
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