How Does Bradley Roby Stack Up as a Free Safety?


The Denver Broncos are apparently flirting with the idea of playing 2014 first round pick Bradley Roby at the free safety position in an effort to get their best 11 players on the field at the same time.

There’s no doubt, Roby was impressive at times as a rookie, albeit a bit inconsistent as well, but that was to be expected.

The former Ohio State Buckeyes star was everything the Broncos could have hoped for as a nickel defensive back. He was physical, he made big plays, showed off his speed and ball skills, and came up with some bone crushing hits.

The fact that Roby is expected to get a look at free safety is not a knock on his skills as a cornerback, rather a vote of confidence from the new coaching staff that he needs to be on the field as much as possible. Gary Kubiak recently admitted that, though the Broncos will be in the 3-4 as their base defense, they’ll spend a majority of their time in the nickel, so keeping Roby on the field in base situations is obviously the goal here.

I wanted to see how he might stack up athletically against free safeties, and Roby is actually a much more impressive athlete than most people might think.

For Roby to transition to the safety position, I’m not even sure at about 195 pounds he would have to add any weight. Perhaps five pounds, but he already plays with the type of fire and physicality that you would want to see in a safety, has been impressive blitzing the quarterback, and does a great job of reading the play and breaking on the football.

I’m really intrigued by this potential move to the safety spot for Roby because of his range and nose for the ball. The Broncos had Rahim Moore back there the last four years, and he was solid but not quite physical enough for the team to keep him around at his price tag of $4 million per season.

Roby is going to be hungry to just get on the field, but with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. eating up cap space and snaps, Roby needs to be flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to get himself on the field. The Broncos are also apparently willing to make that happen.

Players as talented as Roby can’t be on the sideline, and what we saw from him this past season gives hope for not only his future as a cornerback, but the team feels he also has some upside as a safety paired with T.J. Ward. It’s hard not to be excited about that, especially considering how surprisingly physical and fearless Roby was as a rookie.

Whatever the position, the future is bright for Roby in Denver.

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