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Bradley Roby open to seeing time at free safety

At the league meetings March 24, Head Coach Gary Kubiak floated the notion of using cornerback Bradley Roby at safety in some situations to get him on the field more often.

The 2014 first-round pick still sees himself as a cornerback first. That's understandable, given how well he played the position as a rookie last year. But he is receptive to the idea.

"I would definitely like to play cornerback a majority of the time, but they talked to me about possibly moving to free safety at certain times in the game, and in certain packages," Roby said. "I'm open to it."

A dual role seems like a perfect match for Roby and his skill set. He first distinguished himself last summer with aggression against the run, gaining confidence by making plays in space. It would put an end to games like the one he had in St. Louis last November, where he played in 38,5 percent of the snaps because the Rams' packages kept the Broncos' base defense on the field so often. He was also limited to less than 60 percent of the snaps in losses to Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

"He's a physical player. It's just us saying, 'Hey, he needs to be out there,'" Kubiak said last month. "If that's how we get him out there full-time, than that's something we're going to address.

And it would reward Roby, who enjoyed a promising rookie season, but has two Pro Bowlers in front of him on the depth chart at cornerback.

"It's about getting the best players out there on the field," said Chris Harris Jr., one of those Pro Bowlers.

It's also about getting the players in the right spot to maximize their strengths. Harris spoke Monday of how he and Aqib Talib will be left "on an island" in man-to-man coverage more often than last year. If they handle their task on the outside, that will give the safeties opportunities to attack via the pass rush or by awaiting inside targets down the seam and on short crossing routes.

"At the end of the day, I just want to make plays. That's really what I want to do," Roby said. "If me going to free safety allows me to make more plays and be on the field more, then I'm with it."

Roby is not the only defensive back with positional flexibility. Harris was a college safety and can move back there in a pinch.

"Roby can play safety or corner. I've been able to play safety or corner. K-Webb (Kayvon Webster) can play safety or corner. So you have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions," Harris said. "A lot of teams [are] not going to know what we're in. We'll try to confuse them a lot better."

The goal is confusion, but Roby says the defense Wade Phillips is installing is "simpler."

"It lets you go out there and make more plays," he said. "I can't wait to run this defense."

And his eagerness remains the same, no matter what position he plays.

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