In the case of Bradley Roby vs. Jared Abbrederis was the outcome based on rust or polish? I’ll take polish.
Futures: Jared Abbrederis vs. Bradley Roby
by Matt Waldman
Depending whom you ask, Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby is one of the top three to five cornerbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Draftniks love the 5-foot-11, 193-pound Roby’s speed. CBS projects Roby as a second-round pick who could go higher depending on how close the Buckeye junior’s 40-yard dash time is to the range of 4.35-4.4 seconds.
Although I don’t create rankings until I’ve studied all the skill players I’m going to watch, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis is among the top-15 receivers on my list. CBS projects Abbrederis to be drafted in the second or third-round. Considering that between 2006 and 2013 an average of 32 receivers were taken in the draft – 14 in the first three rounds – that projection has some basis of logic.
However, when Abbrederis, a former walk-on, got the better of Roby this year, I think the resulting analysis from CBS’ draftnik team of Roby had a minor, but important disconnect in logic. Before I go any further, let me say that I have a great deal of respect for Rob Rang and Dane Brugler. They cover a ton of players and do a fantastic job.
My disagreement with one of Rang’s views concerns Roby’s work against Abbrederis this year. Rang attributes the corner’s performance against the receiver to rust:
After sitting out the season opener due to a suspension, the Buckeyes junior showed some rust early in 2013 and struggled mightily against Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, but there is a lot to love about Roby’s game. That includes his speed and fighting attitude, but he needs to stay alert for all four quarters to convince NFL teams he’s worthy of a high first-round grade.
Roby missed one game. Rust shouldn’t be a problem. Rang and his team have Abbrederis ranked 11th on their list of receivers and believe he’s a second or third-round pick. They have Roby as a second-round pick.
If two players with second-round grades square off and one gets the better of the other do you presume that the other lost due to rust? I don’t. I’d only believe rust was a factor if I think the losing player is a much better prospect.
Even if Rang personally has Roby as a high first-round pick and Abbrederis as a third-round pick, is there really that much of a difference that Roby should have shut down the Wisconsin receiver? Only if the phrase “walk-on” still hangs in your subconscious when thinking about Abbrederis.
I have long maintained that there isn’t much of a difference between many first-round talents and undrafted free agents. The perception of players generates a far greater gap among them than reality – especially when the public reads thousands of articles that reinforce a faulty perception like Russell Wilson is too small to become an NFL starter, much less a good one.
While many will expect that Roby will only get better with his technique and this warrants him a higher grade –myself included – is this really a good expectation?