ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - No one can benefit more from joint practices than rookies. Bradley Roby, the Broncos' first round pick, took advantage of practicing with the Houston Texans this week.
Every day during training camp, Roby is tasked with the challenge of covering the likes of Demaryius Thomas with Peyton Manning under center. But the past three days have allowed him to see how other dynamic NFL players operate.
He took on Arian Foster during 1-on-1s and though Roby readily admits that Foster beat him and he "misplayed the ball," he is excited that the Texans joined the Broncos the past three days.
"It's just about learning: making mistakes and learning from them and getting better," Roby said.
He said Wednesday's practice helped him with defending the fade route and this week's practices gave him more reps working in the nickel package.
Wednesday, Roby made a great play during 1-on-1s in the end zone as he and Texans wide receiver Lacoltan Bester battled for a lofted pass. Both jumped up, reaching for the ball, but Roby prevented the catch by aggressively knocking it away.
Take a look at the best pictures from the Broncos' and Texans' final joint practice.
Camp hasn't always been easy for Roby. Facing Peyton Manning and his versatile array of weapons is a daunting task, especially for a 22-year-old fresh out of college.
But he's doing the right things to get ready.
"I think I'm still learning," Roby said. "Like I said, I'm learning the position and nickel so I can play inside and outside. I think once the season starts and I start getting a few games under my belt, it'll slow down a lot. I catch on kind of fast. I'm getting everything down, learning as much as I can and when the season comes, I'll be ready."
It's been a big week for Roby. When Kayvon Webster twisted his ankle on Saturday preceding the Broncos' matchup against the 49ers in San Francisco, Roby was thrust into the starting role. He and the rest of the defense held the 49ers to a shutout during the debut of Levi's Stadium.
While Roby has been learning from the Texans and his teammates, he is also benefitting from the presence of former Steelers and Raiders cornerback Rod Woodson. The 11-time Pro Bowler is working with the Broncos this offseason as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.
Woodson, who recorded 71 interceptions in his career, can be found working after practice with Roby. Roby said he wants to "use him for what he was worth" because Woodson knows what it's like to be a rookie and first round selection.
"He has a lot of experience," Roby said of Woodson. "He's one of the greatest DBs ever, and he just gave me a lot of small things to look at -- different viewpoints to look at things. It helped me a lot."
"I wrote them all down -- I tried to remember everything I could, and then write it down, and I'll look back at those books and look at all the advice he gave me, and try to implement it slowly."
With Chris Harris Jr. and Webster sitting above him on the depth chart, Roby still has time to develop. But racking up first-team reps, facing one of the best offenses in the NFL during practice, receiving guidance from a Hall of Famer and practicing with another team have all been influential factors in preparing him for the season that is quickly approaching.