Darryl Roberts- CB Marshall 

6', 185, (PD 4.36)!

S-1.48! 23 Rep!

6.66 3-Cone! 4.02 SS!

11'4" Broad! 39" Vert! 

He Checks All The Boxes.

By TOM

First of all Roberts is a freak. He was the most athletic corner in this year's Draft. He was not invited to the Combine, even though he was an All Conference USA CB, but he blew up the NFL world at the Marshall Proday. A Corner hasn't put on a show like that since Verrett, but he was only 5-9 and Roberts is 6-feet tall. He has as much physical  potential as any Corner in this year and last years Drafts. That doesn't mean he will become the best Corner in the NFL. But he does have that potential physically. We can't say if he has that same potential mentally and instinctually yet, but I'm saying there's a change.

So you have to start with his Proday numbers. "You take [Robert's Proday] numbers and put it up against the numbers that were in the Combine, and he's right in the top two or three corners in the country," the HC at Marshall Doc Holliday said. "There will probably be some scouts that may get fired too because they didn't do a very damn good job when they came to watch practice. There will be some guys around the league that raise their eyebrows and wonder why they didn't know more about him." He would have placed 6th in the Forty for Corners at the Combine with his 4.36. His impressive 39" Vert would have placed him 5th at the Combine. His 23 Reps and 11'4" Broad would both have gotten him silver medals at the Combine.

But even after what should have been a gold metal performance at the underwear Olympics, he was still left naked out in the cold. "He can really fly," the mighty Mel said about Roberts. "And when you have that type of speed, you’re going to get some attention. And then his performance I watched, I thought it was a little up and down, but I thought the kid showed he could be a pretty good corner in this League. But when you run the times of 40s he did [4.36 and 4.38], it’s going to push you up." Only fortunately for the Pats it didn't push him up, and they came away with the steal of the Draft.

I watched the film, and I thought he was very impressive. The only way I can describe his game is that I love how he consistently turns and runs with the WRs, right on their hips. "Now they go back and watch the film [after seeing his speed]," the Marshall DC Chuck Heater said. "And the film validates it. Once you blow those numbers up like that, it gets your attention. It gets our attention. You have some kid that runs really fast in high school, it gets our attention. Then you go back and see if he can play football. They went back and watched the tape and I’m sure they saw he played good football, because he played great for us." He stays lazar focused on the smaller school WRs, and often he didn't give up an inch of space for the QB to throw into.

Maybe more important, and certainly more underrated than his great 4.36 forty were his COD numbers: 3-Come drill 6.66 and Short Shuttle 4.02. Corner is a reactive position. You have to be able to change direction on a dime when a WR makes their breaks. "He could match up and play one on one and take away the easy access throws," the greatly named Doc Holliday said. "He was a good tackler, was physical. He’s going to make some money playing this game." His quickness, agility, and ability to react quickly to WRs shows up on film. 

What also seemed lost in translation was that he was not a scrub in college. He was 1st team All-Conference USA. And maybe even more impressive than that was that he was voted team Captain by his teammates for the Boca Rotan Bowl. Where he helped to lead Marshall to a conference USA Championship and a 13 and 1 record. They finished ranked 22nd in the FBS. He also finished in the top ten in the country in PBU with 18. This guy had as great a season last year as any Corner in the FBS. He is great in the middle of Patterns. He can also be very good in the beginning of patterns when they let him Jam the WR. 

2015: All-Conference USA first team cornerback in senior season, helping the Herd (13-1) to a Conference USA title, Boca Raton Bowl win and Nos. 22/23 national ranking in final polls … Made 42 career starts, No. 2 among cornerbacks in Herd history … Prospered under tutelage last two seasons by Marshall veteran defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater … Finished career with 185 tackles (10.5 for loss) and 38 passes defended, including five interceptions … Was voted season (and bowl) co-captain by Herd teammates for 2014. 

He produced on and off the field all season for his team. "Darryl Roberts, a multi-year starter down at Marshall," BB said. "[He’s] a guy that has good size, fast, played primarily on the perimeter down there. Good player though, very good role on the team in terms of leadership and so forth." He was voted Co-Captain for his team for the regular season. He garnered 75 tackles, 3.5 TFL, and 1 FF, which is very impressive for a Corner. He set the record for Reps on the bench press for DBs at Marshall with 22. Then broke that record at his Proday. You have to be the hardest working Corner in the FBS to be able to bench 225-pounds 23 times. You just don't see Corners do that.

Red shirt SENIOR SEASON (2014): All-Conference USA first team corner as voted by league coaches … Started all 14 games for C-USA title team and Boca Raton Bowl champion (13-1), as Herd finished Nos. 22/23 in the final national polls … Ranked among top 10 in FBS in passes defended (18) despite fact that most Herd foes didn’t throw his way … Made one interception (at Old Dominion) … Ranked fifth on team with 75 tackles (46 solos), including 3.5 for loss; had one forced fumble … Had career-high 11 tackles in two games (Ohio, Western Kentucky) … Won the Herd’s annual Tom Stark Award, presented to a defensive player who gives his all on and off the field … In summer of 2014, set Herd all-time record for cornerbacks and safeties in conditioning with 22 in pro bench testing (225-pound repetitions). Did a combined 1,050 pounds in three lifting disciplines (bench, squat, power clean), and his 10-5 broad jump and 36-inch vertical jump ranked No. 2 on team.

With his elite athletic ability, elite work ethic and leadership, and his knack for owning the WR in the middle of the pattern, the Pats really uncovered a hidden treasure. I think it is in the same class of treasure as Malcolm Brown. Though he won't shine as bright, unless he can make the greatest play in Super Bowl history this year. But that expectation might be a tad too much for him. 

A Quick Aside.

I was so excited to see he got the start against Green Bay, because it is all mental and instinctual for him. The sooner they can get him the experience, like they gave Butler last preseason, the quicker he can evolve into a starter. This may be cheap, but when I watch him play he keeps reminding me of Malcolm Butler, who was the surprise player of the Preseason for the Pats last season, and turned out to be the surprise player in the NFL by the end of the Super Bowl. 

Now hopefully Robert's can shock the World and make the Super Bowl winning play this season, like Butler made last season. Obviously, I am not really saying that will happen. However, I am comparing what I saw of Butler in Preseason and what I have seen of Roberts, in Preseason so far and on Tape (though no Pats fan would mind if he did have the Super Bowl winning play this season, or any season for that matter;-).

He just has that knack for sticking with WRs in patterns. He showed those reacting instincts that cannot be taught in college. I though he continued to show them last night. Though it was not as easy as against N. Illinois. He did give up a little more space for the QB to throw into. He does still struggle with the comeback/out to the sideline. That is when he gave up the most space against N. Illinois and the Packers last night. But he also did demonstrate his lazar focus.

I think you'll see him start at Corner the rest of the Preseason, like Butler did last year. It is just such a great chance to get a rookie valuable experience without hurting the team. Part of the reason I said the Butler was the best CB in Preseason last year is because he played all the time. He was on the field almost all game in all four games. And then he disappeared. The Pats corners were so good last year that they didn't need him until the end of the season. I don't think they have the talent at CB to do that again this year.

The best situation for him would be to play as much as Butler did, and then learn behind the scenes for most of the regular season like Butler did. However, I don't think they have the talent this year to keep him on the bench. They have Butler and the two veterans, Brown and Fletcher. Those will be your top three Corners to start the season. Then you have Roberts and McClain battling it out for the 4th CB spot. I think Roberts has a shot to win that spot. However, he more likely is a special team maven until an injury occurs. And will likely be the 5th Corner on this team. He is going to get on the field more than Butler did early in season. He will show himself to be the steal of the Draft.

The Notes.

Roberts is fast corner with nice size. He ran a 4.36 at his Proday, and he plays to that speed. He does not get beat down the sidelines. What makes him special is that he is so consistent turning and running with the WR. He stays on him and tries not to give up an inch of space for the QB to throw into. 

He can get up and catch the ball with both hands, but mostly he looks to knock the ball down. He does not have the best hands. He can also arrive as the ball arrives and physically knock the ball out of the WR's hands with a nice hit. Tracks the ball nicely in the air running down the sideline.  

Very physical corner. He has the smarts and toughness like BB likes. Bad hands. Big tall CB. Aggressive tackler. Plays with nice speed. He can run with a WR on his hip, and leap up over him and knock the ball down. Level of competition is a question. Shows great aggression moving forward. Tough to throw the high fade over him in the endzone. He knows how to use his size. 

He more tries to blanket the WR going down the sideline, so the QB can’t throw to him. One of the best Corners I've seen in the middle of patterns when the QB is deciding where to throw the ball. Causes a lot of incompletions by being right in a WRs grill, without making a play on the ball. Stays focused on the WR and will sometimes not see the ball in time to make a play on it. When he gets a WR in his sights he gives a hit that he will remember for the rest of the game. He just has that knack for being within arms length of the WR when the ball arrives. 

He will miss tackles, but he can also be a force in the run game. Very aggressive hitter and tackler. He can up end the RB, and knock the ball out of the WR's hands with hits. He has great speed. Running a 4.36 anywhere is no joke. He is also as physical in the run game as any CB in this draft, and might be the best run defender of them all. He surely was the most productive with 75 tackles.

When he turns and runs with a WR, and gets his hands on him, the WR is done. He is consistently lazar focused on the WR. So much so that he often doesn’t see the delayed run, the QB take off, or the ball coming, and I don't mean that as a negative. When he turns and sees the ball coming he can leap up and use his length to knock the ball down. Knocks down balls he should be able to intercept without even trying to catch them.

He reminds me of a smaller faster Browner. He can be just as physical and grabby as Browner, and picks up penalties as a result. I'm not sure how someone makes the team after the Pats took a long snapper from Navy, but with their pathetic depth at CB he is almost a lock to make the team. 

He played at a lower level of comp, but we all know the history of Marshall WRs and the Pats. So if he can transition to the NFL quickly than he could be a Malcolm Butler like surprise in training camp. He has the athletic ability, size, and speed to be a great starting CB in the NFL like Butler. If both of them can live up their vast potential, they could dominate together for ten or more years.

He has that knack for turning and running downfield with any college WR lined up in front of him. Vert (39"), height, and long arms make him exceptional at high pointing the ball and knocking it down. He had 18 PBUs last season and would have had more INTs if not for his hands. Every Tape I've seen of him since the Draft is excellent. He was a great college CB last season.

Another reason that despite the impossible I think he can make this team is that he is so great against the run he could easily switch to Safety and be the fastest Safety in the NFL. He also was an excellent special teams player. He needs to come to Foxboro and move into the special team coach's office. If he is as good as I think he is we could see him show up in the 1st half of some preseason games like Butler did last year. If not? They will have trouble stashing him.

He really has no trouble running down the sideline with WRs. He reminds me of Butler for his knack for arriving when the ball arrives. Like Butler, he doesn't give up much. His biggest negative is that he doesn't have good hands. You can see that he doesn't even try to catch the ball sometimes, much like we saw Brown do as a rookie.

Okay, how does he make this team? It will be because he is so consistent turning and running with WRs all over the field. He also has that lazar focus on WRs in the middle of the pattern that makes QBs go to the other side. He has that knack for sticking right on WR's sides, and getting his hands up to not give the QB an inch of space to throw into. He has NFL starting talent, and the Pats are going to have to find room on the roster for him.

2014 Post season: Snubbed by postseason senior all-star games and a spot at the 2015 NFL Combine, Roberts opened eyes and enhanced NFL prospects with an impressive performance at Marshall’s Pro Day (March 11) … At his Pro Day workout, Roberts posted a 4.36 and a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, a 39-inch vertical leap, an 11-1 broad jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times – topping all cornerbacks who were invited to the NFL Combine – and had a 4.08 short shuttle and a 6.66 three-cone drill … .

Darryl Roberts Vs Northern Illinois:

He has nice height for a CB, #7. But he can also run down the sideline and knock the ball down. You can see he is in perfect position on the WR's hip and shades him out of bounds. He made that catch nearly impossible. That was very nice coverage (:01). He is the CB on the bottom of the screen. Watch the great feet in the pedal. The longer a CB can pedal backwards with one eye on the QB and one eye on the WR, the bigger advantage he has in coverage. He shows he can stay in his pedal longer than most. Notice how he changes angles to the outside after a couple of steps.

Top of the screen. He plays mostly on the weakside but will move over to the strongside sometimes. He has nice height, but watch his feet and hips as he has to bail right off the snap. He half turns as he blankets the WR trying to run down the sideline. There is no way the QB can throw that ball with Roberts completely blocking the WR (:14). Here he is up on top of the screen in Off (:22). He reads run quickly, and loops around some traffic to get into position for a tackle for loss, But he misses the tackle.

He creeps up into press coverage. He sinks his hips on the snap, and actually gets a hand on the WR. He slows him a little. But watch the angle of retreat. By the time the WR is three yards down field Roberts is two yard a head of him and two yards inside of him right in the middle of the pattern. There is no way the QB will throw the ball into that coverage (:31). Bottom of the screen. He widens his stance and drops his hips right off the snap (:38). The WR cuts inside on a slant, and he gets both hands up and into his chest, destroying the pattern right in the middle it. The WR boxes him out on the seam. He gets position to peek over his shoulder at the QB, and forces the QB to throw the ball away.

Bottom of the screen. He lines up in press again and blitzes. He shows some nice agility weaving past Northern Illinois players, but he can't get past the big ORT (:54). Top of the screen. Watch the great feet as he shadows the WR, and bobs forward and back like a boxer. He owned the middle of that pattern, and the QB had to look away (:59). He hops inside nicely off the snap. Watch the inside hand get leverage on the WR's shoulder (1:05). He is done as they run down the seam. He simply owns the middle of patterns every time I see him play.

Top of the screen. He moves back inside to shadow the rusher. Watch his hips as he snaps back outside when the CB crosses his face. That is NFL quickness right there (1:18). Top of the screen. You can see again that when he gets his hands on the WR he is done. He ends the pattern right in the middle of it (1:31). Top of the screen. Watch this nice surprise two-handed jam right off the snap, with the QB eyeing him down. Then he turns and runs with him, and the QB has to look away. But watch the route recognition as the WR makes a move. He stops and covers the Out perfectly. That is great Press coverage (1:40). Bottom of the screen. You can see he has a little giddy-up backwards in his pedal. Then he turns and runs easily with the WR down the sideline (1:49). This play is very interesting. He gets over to the side late, and the ball is snapped before he gets into position (1:57). However, watch how he uses his great quick feet moving backwards and sideways to get into position. That is excellent. Then he reads run. Watch the great change of direction and the attack forward as he flies past the blocker.

Lined up in deep Off on the Seam to cover the slot guy. He stays back to far and gives the QB a place to throw into on the Out (2:05). Top of the screen. You get to see him turn and run (2:15). However, in slowmo you get to see him locked onto the WR in the middle of the pattern (2:24). He will miss the runs sometimes, because of his intense focus on the WR. But I like it. He does not give up an inch of space for the QB to throw the ball into. When he is locked on mentally like that on the WR, he looks like Malcolm Butler to me. Whether that is good or bad has yet to be decided, but that is what Butler looked like to me last Preseason and in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. Granted, Roberts is doing it against some scrub from N. Illinois, but that is what we get to see. He has a long way to go to approach what Butler did last season.

Bottom of the screen. I just love how he moves backwards in coverage focused on the WR. He won't be able to run like that as much in the NFL, but the longer you can run focused on the WR and/or the QB the better (2:53). Bottom of the screen. He zones off the WR, who takes off inside. But he shows nice awareness moving back as a WR tries to slip behind him (3:03). Top of the screen. Just another great example of his ability to turn and run with the WR so close he reaches out and grabs his arm as they run down the sideline (3:14). He stays so lazar focused on the WR he doesn't see the QB take off and run under him. That lazar focus is a little Raymond Clayborn like.

Top of the screen. He gets a great two handed jam into the chest of the WR that should have ruined the timing of the throw, but instead gives the WR just enough space to take the inside. But he tackles him quickly (3:24). Top of the screen. He just turns and drops into a zone, and then chases the WR (3:40). Top of the screen. He moves with the WR, and jams him at the marker (3:57). He holds his position, and jams into the WR right at the marker to take away the quick 1st down throw (4:04). Then he releases him to the sideline and eyes down the QB who is forced to go to the other side.

Top of the screen. He run blitzes inside and makes the nice tackle (4:11). Top of the screen. He is just staying in his technique. He turns and runs with the WR (4:20). Bottom of the screen. Just watch his feet and hips as he stays in front of the WR. He turns and boxes him out while running down the sideline destroying him right in the middle of the pattern. There is not an inch of space for the QB to throw into (4:30). Oops, he misses the tackle that would have saved a TD.

Bottom of the screen. He goes into Off and reads something. He moves a little inside, and then shuffles inside into perfect position to catch the WR on the Slant. He helps make the QB panic as he has nowhere to go (4:41). Top of the screen. I love it. He is so consistent turning and running with the WR. Watch his great feet as he stays tight on the WR on the inside out move, and forces the QB to got to the other side again. He got his hands nicely on the WR when he moved inside. But when the WR snapped outside it looked like that would have been a catch in the NFL (4:50). Bottom of the screen. He stays in front of the WR nicely to try and disrupt the timing. However, when the WR gets outside a little he stops moving his feet a little. The WR gets behind him, and the QB makes a good throw, but that was good coverage (4:56). Bottom of the screen. The WR tries another inside out move, but when Roberts keeps his feet moving and gets his hands on the WR, he breaks outside. The QB has to throw the ball away (5:05). Okay, that is some great Tape against some bad competition. The QB threw wounded ducks all over the field, and the WR's where too small to give him trouble. But he showed everything you want to see in a CB prospect.

Roberts Vs Northern Illinois:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0BQXqyy2yo

 

 

Robert's' Stats:

 

2014 Post season: Snubbed by postseason senior all-star games and a spot at the 2015 NFL Combine, Roberts opened eyes and enhanced NFL prospects with an impressive performance at Marshall’s Pro Day (March 11) … At his Pro Day workout, Roberts posted a 4.36 and a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, a 39-inch vertical leap, an 11-1 broad jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times – topping all cornerbacks who were invited to the NFL Combine – and had a 4.08 short shuttle and a 6.66 three-cone drill … .

 

2015: All-Conference USA first team cornerback in senior season, helping the Herd (13-1) to a Conference USA title, Boca Raton Bowl win and Nos. 22/23 national ranking in final polls … Made 42 career starts, No. 2 among cornerbacks in Herd history … Prospered under tutelage last two seasons by Marshall veteran defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater … Finished career with 185 tackles (10.5 for loss) and 38 passes defended, including five interceptions … Was voted season (and bowl) co-captain by Herd teammates for 2014. 

 

Red shirt SENIOR SEASON (2014): All-Conference USA first team corner as voted by league coaches … Started all 14 games for C-USA title team and Boca Raton Bowl champion (13-1), as Herd finished Nos. 22/23 in the final national polls … Ranked among top 10 in FBS in passes defended (18) despite fact that most Herd foes didn’t throw his way … Made one interception (at Old Dominion) … Ranked fifth on team with 75 tackles (46 solos), including 3.5 for loss; had one forced fumble … Had career-high 11 tackles in two games (Ohio, Western Kentucky) … Won the Herd’s annual Tom Stark Award, presented to a defensive player who gives his all on and off the field … In summer of 2014, set Herd all-time record for cornerbacks and safeties in conditioning with 22 in pro bench testing (225-pound repetitions). Did a combined 1,050 pounds in three lifting disciplines (bench, squat, power clean), and his 10-5 broad jump and 36-inch vertical jump ranked No. 2 on team.

R-JUNIOR SEASON (2013): Started 13 of 14 games (missed C-USA title game at Rice with injury) as key performer on nation’s most improved scoring defense (a 20.2-point improvement from 2012) … All-Conference USA Honorable Mention selection by league coaches … Ranked sixth on team with 58 tackles (41 solos), including a season-high seven against Southern Miss … Blocked a PAT (at Tulsa) … Made two interceptions (Middle Tennessee, FIU).

R-SOPHOMORE SEASON (2012): Redshirted while rehabbing from offseason broken right ankle and subsequent surgery.

R-FRESHMAN SEASON (2011): Played in all 13 games at corner for the Herd ... Had 37 tackles (25 solo, 12 assists) with two tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and seven pass breakups ... The interception came on the last play of the thrilling overtime win against East Carolina...Had three pass breakups at Memphis ... Blocked a punt against UAB ... Posted a season-high six stops against West Virginia.

FRESHMAN SEASON (2010): Arrived at Marshall in Coach Doc Holliday’s first recruiting class as 5-foot-11, 154-pounder from Lakeland High School … Played in all 13 games for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl-winning team … Posted 16 tackles (10 solo, six assists), one interception and two pass breakups ... Had five tackles against Bowling Green with an interception and two pass breakups.

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