Analysts often cite Bradley Roby's performance last season against Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis as evidence of his inconsistencies at cornerback. But Chris Beatty, Abbrederis' position coach at Wisconsin, prefers to see it from the other side -- he believes it was proof that Abbrederis is a top-notch receiver.
"That kid's a great player, not a good player," Beatty said of Roby, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Roby is a great player. Jared made him look average on that day.
"I mean, the guy couldn't keep up with him," Beatty said, adding that Abbrederis "double-moved him to death" in their September meeting.
Abbrederis lit the Buckeyes' secondary up for 10 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown last September, the most visible blemish in an up-and-down season by Roby, once considered the top cornerback prospect in the nation. But for Beatty, the game didn't expose Roby's flaws so much as it put Abbrederis' talents in the national spotlight.
Abbrederis is not considered among the elite receivers in this year's class. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, he doesn't have the game-breaking abilities of Sammy Watkins or the size-speed combination of Mike Evans, although he ran the 40 in 4.50 seconds at the NFL combine. But according to the Journal Sentinel, Beatty said several NFL scouts and coaches have told him Abbrederis is one of the best route runners in this year's draft.
"He's one of those guys who pays attention to every little thing in the meeting," Beatty said. "He's a film guy, and he's been in a pro-style offense for four years, five years. He knows what those routes look like -- he's run them over and over. So he knows what comebacks look like, where sometimes the spread-offense guys don't have that background."
Abbrederis has continued to help his cause in the last few months, showing off those precise route-running skills and good hands at Wisconsin's pro day. But at a position considered the deepest in the 2014 draft, he's projected by most to be a third-day pick.
As for Roby, he has revived his draft stock in the last couple of months, including a strong showing at the combine, where he impressed in position drills and his 4.39-second 40 time was one of the fastest at the event. Six of the seven NFL.com mock drafts have him projected as a first-round pick, with NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah slotting him as high as No. 15 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.