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Rookie minicamp preview: Bradley Roby

The Denver Broncos will bring their draft class into their Dove Valley complex this coming weekend for a three-day, welcome-to-the-show rookie minicamp.

All of the first-year players will get their indoctrination into the Broncos' way on all things football. So, at Step 1 in their quest to gain a roster spot to go with some playing time in the regular season, it's a good time to look at the prospects in the six-player draft class.

Today: First-round pick Bradley Roby

What does he bring to the table: There were scouts and defensive coaches around the league who believed, simply based on athleticism and potential, Roby was the best cover cornerback on the draft board.

Roby was one of the fastest players timed at the league's scouting combine with a 4.34 showing (on the electronic clock) in the 40-yard dash, at 194 pounds. He has the kind of fast-twitch quickness and lower-body flexibility defensive coaches players covet in coverage.

Add in the instinctive ability to play the ball without losing sight of the receiver and a swagger in his play and you have exactly what is needed in the formation in the these pass-happy times.

Prospects for playing time: The Broncos see a player who can work into the nickel (five defensive backs) and dime (six defensive backs) right front the start. In a perfect world, when the Broncos face the numerous three-wide receiver sets they'll see in the upcoming season, they would like to have Aqib Talib and Roby play in the two outside spots with Chris Harris Jr. lined up in the slot.

And with Harris Jr. still working his way back after partially tearing an ACL in January, there some chance Roby may have to be ready to work with the starters early.

Biggest hurdle to playing time: Some talent evaluators in the league have labeled Roby as a boom-or-bust guy, a player with breathtaking athletic gifts who may or may not be able to lock in and be a reliable professional.

His game video shows concentration lapses at times where he gives up catches and significant yards to players who are less athletic than he is. He's also had some off-the-field issues -- he pushed a bouncer in an incident in a Bloomington, Indiana bar last year and was cited earlier this year after a policeman found him sleeping in a car.

Some have described him as immature or "spoiled." Not egregious crimes to be sure for a 20-something, but the NFL is a difficult place for those in search of vocational maturity. There are plenty of examples of those who took their time to grow up only to discover the window had already closed on their physical abilities.

The Broncos need Roby to put actions to his words.

"Guys tried to put me in a category, kind of, because of the things I got myself into" Roby said when he arrived in Denver. "I made some bad decisions in the past, but at the end of the day that doesn't make me a bad guy. Ask anybody who's coached me, I'm a great guy, a great teammate."

The bottom line: Roby's talent, and a slide down to the 31st pick of the draft, tilted the scales for the Broncos Thursday night, so they took a chance.

If they're right, they get an immediate contributor who projects to be a starter soon. If they're wrong, and they can't find a way to get Roby pointed in the right direction or Roby simply doesn't hold up his end of the bargain, they will feel the rather significant sting of a first-round whiff.