Bradley Roby, CB, Houston Texans
The Bradley Roby signing by the Houston Texans may not have been as flashy as the Cameron Wake or Rodger Saffold signings by the Titans, but it’s more important to the Texans season. Roby has had an up-and-down career coming from the Denver Broncos. He was a first-round pick in 2014 and has essentially been a starter as a top-three cornerback for them his entire career.
Despite playing a lot of snaps, Roby has never reached the potential that made him a first-round pick. He’s been inconsistent in the NFL with strong performances in 2015 and 2017 but is coming off maybe the worst season of his career. The Texans lost Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu in free agency and desperately needed to add talent. They gave Roby a one-year $10 million prove-it deal and their defensive success could depend on him proving it.
With a thin CB corps, Roby is likely a lock to start on the outside, across from Johnathan Joseph with Aaron Colvin at nickel. It’s a trio that will need to hold up against the devastating Frank Reich–Andrew Luck duo, the improved Titans WR corps, and the new look Nick Foles led Jaguars.
Roby isn’t a big nor physical CB, but he’s an explosive athlete with gifted movement skills. He’s at his best playing off-man coverage and Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is one of the greatest for putting players in their best position to succeed. Roby is the most talented CB on the roster and for this defense to be a top 10 unit he will need to reach his potential.
Per PFF, in 2018 Roby gave up 807 receiving yards when in coverage, the fourth-most in the league. He also gave up the sixth-most touchdowns and seventh-most yards after the catch. The Texans will need Roby returning to his 2017 form to help them win the AFC South or else he’ll be out of town after just one season.
Rob Paul is an AFC South writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow his work on Twitter @RobPaulNFL.