The 2014 NFL Draft is ten days away, which means we're slowly coming to the end of the mock draft season. Our friends at Mocking the Draft rolled out their latest 2014 NFL mock draft, and they have the San Francisco 49ers selecting Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby with their first round pick.
Roby's recent OVI charge shouldn't doom his draft chances too much. He reportedly blew 10 times less than the legal limit. Even so, his talent would be hard for San Francisco to pass up. While the 49ers could trade up for a cornerback, they'd be hard-pressed to find one with more talent than Roby.
Last week, Roby was issued a traffic citation for operating a vehicle while impaired. According to a reported police report, Roby was parked when a cop approached his car and questioned him. The officer ran Roby through a field sobriety test, and then had him do a breathalyzer test. According to the report, Roby blew a .008. The legal limit in Ohio is .08. Roby confirmed the test in a tweet:
I was not drunk pic.twitter.com/CviiPuydkp— Bradley Roby (@BradRoby_1) April 25, 2014
The initial major media reports were all over the place, and the first question most were asking was how this would affect his draft stock. In reality, much like we've seen with 49ers off-the-field incidents, it sounds like this is very likely to go away. This likely got additional publicity because Roby had a brief run-in with the law last year. He was charged with battery in a bar fight, but apparently video showed a security officer was the aggressor. It's safe to say Roby is not pleased with how the media played this out:
I have lost any respect I had left for the media. I take ownership in my part of it. But you run a story at least put out all facts ...— Bradley Roby (@BradRoby_1) April 25, 2014
The 49ers have dealt with some off-the-field issues this offseason, and as would be expected in this "hot take" media era, it has led to some questioning the culture of the team. We don't need to rehash the specifics, but it's at least a little bit interesting to consider media response to a potential Roby selection.
Chris Biderman reported a team source said the 49ers hosted Roby last week. Given that the team is allowed up to 30 pre-draft visits from out-of-town players, we can take only so much value from these. But this kind of report would indicate at least some level of interest. It doesn't mean first round interest, but interest would seem to be there.
It would be kind of fascinating if the 49ers drafted Roby just to see who would be first with their condemnation of such a pick. Roby acknowledged this was not a perfect situation for him, but the problems seem relatively limited in the grand scheme of things. People will say the 49ers should not be drafting so-called "trouble-makers" and players with red flags. The San Jose Mercury News wrote an article discussing whether or not the 49ers are becoming the bad boys of the NFL. They pointed to the spate of arrests since the Harbaalke tandem came together.
The 49ers have had their share of issues, but as one person pointed out in the Merc article, it's just a bad run. After all, NaVorro Bowman and Tarell Brown were considered character concerns coming out of college, and both have been model citizens in the NFL. I understand that there are trouble-makers around the league, but I also think a lot of players simply grow up and mature. Most players coming into the league are 21 or 22 years old. I think a lot of us did some pretty stupid stuff at that point in our life.
Yes, some projections pan out and players will get in trouble. But a guy like Roby just strikes me as a guy who is growing up and maturing. Sure he could end up being a trouble-maker in the NFL, but I think some random media member deciding to crush him for a what seems to be barely even a bad decision is a little over the top. If the 49ers decided Bradley Roby was the kind of talent that would boost their secondary, I would have no problem seeing them select him at No. 30 (or even potentially moving up for him, if they were so inclined).
I have a feeling that if the 49ers draft anybody with so much as a parking ticket in their past, there will be media members who crush them for it. It's an annoyance, but at the end of the day, it's going to be coming from writers who are trying to drive traffic to their articles with shock value and nothing more. That's just the way of the world, I suppose.