For the second year in a row, the Broncos drafted a defensive player in the first round who they didn't expect to be on the board for their pick.
According to Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway, the Broncos looked at moving up or down, but ultimately stayed put and took Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby.
Like defensive tackle Sylvester Williams last season, Roby has widely been considered a strong value late in the first round. Here's a look at what members of the national media have been saying about the Broncos' choice:
NFL Network broadcast:
"That's a good pick. Remember, Chris Harris, their nickel, tore his ACL in January. They signed Aqib Talib, they signed T.J. Ward, but they really need some help at the other corner and at the nickel until Chris Harris gets back."
"He's a gifted kid. And he's going to have to step in day one and play at a high level."
"The kid's got wonderful skills. He can run. He can jump. He's a tough kid."
"He's so gifted. He's so quick. He ran sub-4.4. He's long. He's got loose hips. I felt like he and Justin Gilbert had the best talent of any of the corners in this draft."
"When you talk about Talib, you're talking about Ward, the one thing I see with the Denver Broncos is they signed an attitude guy. Those are attitude guys. They needed attitude -- this guy can add to that. Talented guy that comes in and gives attitude."
NFL.com's Bryan Fisher:
The skinny: John Elway didn't have to do anything but sit around and watch Roby fall into his lap. Though there are concerns about him, his junior year tape showed he had top 15 talent, and the Broncos are the beneficiaries of him sliding to the bottom of the round.
ESPN's Todd McShay:
Another boom-or-bust pick is Bradley Roby to the Broncos at No. 31. He has a lot to learn on and off the field to be a successful pro, but he has all the physical tools to make him worth the risk, especially with the sheriff Peyton Manning presiding over the locker room.
ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold:
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.
ESPN.com's Scouts Inc.:
What he brings:
Roby is a boom-or-bust prospect who hasn't stayed disciplined on or off the field and needs to mature if he's to reach his considerable potential. However, he's arguably the most talented corner in this class, so the risk could very well be worth the reward. He's a quick-twitched athlete with an above-average combination of suddenness, fluidity and straight-line speed. He has massive hands (10 1/4 inches) and the leaping ability and body control to play the ball, as well.
How he fits:
Denver signed Aqib Talib away from New England, but Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have both signed elsewhere. Tony Carter is more of sub-package corner who contributes on special teams than a starter, and Chris Harris partially tore an ACL in the Broncos' playoff win over San Diego. As a result, the Broncos needed a corner capable of pushing for the starting job opposite Talib, and Roby is a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio's scheme. He has the fluidity, burst, top-end speed and confidence to blanket receivers one-on-one, as well as the awareness and tackling ability to hold when Del Rio goes zone.
Defensive backs were a popular choice in this first round and Roby is yet another promising option. The Broncos decided not to go with a receiver here, instead going with another need at corner. Roby had a decorated career at Ohio State and has freakish speed. He can shadow most anyone out there and should be able to thrive in Denver.