BOGACZYK: Roberts Ready, Waiting for Draft Call
The Word on the Herd-April 29, 2015
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Now, all Darryl Roberts can do is wait.
Roberts, Marshall's All-Conference USA cornerback, seized his opportunity to impress NFL personnel men at the Herd's Pro Day seven weeks ago. Since then, he's had additional sessions with eight NFL clubs.
The 80th NFL Draft starts Thursday night at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, and Roberts will be home in Lakeland, Fla., anticipating a phone call he figures will come sometime Saturday, when Rounds 4-7 start at noon.
Somewhere in the Draft's 256 picks, the 6-foot, 182-pound corner's name should be called.
He hopes he isn't alone among a Herd of prospects that also prominently include center Chris Jasperse, defensive lineman James Rouse and linebacker Neville Hewitt.
"A bunch of teams that worked me out have called me, night and day," said Roberts, who has been working out religiously at Edwards Stadium, in the Dunfee Weight Room and the Herd's indoor facility. "It's a lot of interest I think, and they all tell me a lot of the same stuff, so I really don't have a good feel of who likes me better than anybody else.
"There does seem to be a lot of interest though. I have a good feel for the draft. I'd say mid-round, fourth or fifth, I hope."
Roberts, who ranked in the nation's top 10 in passes defended in 2014, wasn't on the NFL radar until Pro Day. He had no invitation to the NFL Combine or to multiple postseason all-star games for prospects.
At his Pro Day workout before representatives of nine NFL clubs, 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 went to the NFL Combine -- and had a 4.08 short shuttle and a 6.66 three-cone drill.
Since that day, Roberts has either visited NFL clubs at their facilities or had private workouts in Huntington with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New England, Kansas City, Green Bay, San Diego and San Francisco.
"A lot of them asked me why I didn't get into any senior all-star games or things like that," said Roberts, who is represented by Huntington attorney David Rich and Rich Sports Management. "And I told them that's not really my decision to get invited to those things.
"I'm a guy who just tries to control what I can control."
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday, whose program has had four draft picks in four seasons (tight end Lee Smith, defensive end Vinny Curry, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and offensive tackle Garrett Scott) underscores Roberts' point on pre-judging prospects.
"I can't figure it out," Holliday said. "I don't know how many we might have drafted. We've had some tremendous football players a year ago who deserve the opportunity to have a chance at the NFL. But you know, I never know what these NFL teams are going to do. I really don't. Sometimes I really wonder what they're looking for, because we've got some really good players.
"Nobody knew about Darryl Roberts until it came to Pro Day, and now 16 teams want to know why they missed him. Well, we've been telling them for a year and a half, two years, that this kid could really play.
"So, I don't know where it's going to go, but I do know we have some football players -- multiple players -- who if given the opportunity have a chance to play in that league. And they deserve that chance. I'm anxious to see myself, because I know there are pretty deserving kids who were on a (C-USA) championship team last season."
The first NFL Draft was held in 1936. Since 1939, Marshall has had 39 selections. The Herd high was four picks in 2000, led by first-round quarterback Chad Pennington. If Roberts is selected as expected, he will be the first Marshall defensive back taken since safety Chris Crocker was a third-rounder by the Cleveland Browns in 2003.
NFLDraftScout.com has Roberts ranked as the No. 24 cornerback prospect, No. 183 overall. The website projects him as a Rounds 5-6 selection.
Roberts said he hopes his elevation as a prospect will help bring some of his teammates NFL camp opportunities, whether they're drafted or go the free-agent route. He also said some solid Pro Day performances by himself, Jasperse and Rouse hopefully will bring more attention in Marshall prospects in years to come.
"I hope I can help some other guys get opportunities," he said. "I'm just trying to lead by example and taking advantage of the opportunity I have."
In the weeks since he met individually with NFL teams, Roberts said he hasn't changed much -- not surprising for a guy nicknamed "Swagg" who won the 2014 version of the Tom Stark Award, presented to a Herd defensive player who gives his all on and off the field.
"I've just tried to show them how smart I am in football IQ, and basically tried to show them how athletic I am," Roberts said when asked about working out for NFL clubs. "Show them I can backpedal, flip my hips, attack the ball at the highest point, things like that. I show them I'm willing to work hard, to do what it takes.
"I've just been grinding on my own, coming an and working out with the strength staff here, getting the feel of changing directions, stuff like that, trying to shape up my craft, pinpoint it to the minimum, so I won't have that many mistakes when I do get out on the field."
Now comes the hard part.
"I'll be watching the Draft home in Florida with my family," he said, "just chilling and waiting and trying to enjoy the process."
|2014||6 (199)||Garrett Scott||OT||Seattle|
|2013||2 (59)||Aaron Dobson||WR||New England|
|2012||2 (59)||Vinny Curry||DE||Philadelphia|
|2011||5 (159)||Lee Smith||TE||New England|
|2007||7 (250)||Ahmad Bradshaw||RB||New York Giants|
|2005||6 (206)||Johnathan Goddard||LB||Detroit|
|2004||2 (54)||Darius Watts||WR||Denver|
|2003||1 (7)||Byron Leftwich||QB||Jacksonville|
|3 (84)||Chris Crocker||S||Cleveland|
|4 (122)||Steve Sciullo||OG||Indianapolis|
|2002||7 (243)||Chris Massey||LS||St. Louis|
|2001||2 (51)||Paul Toviessi||DE||Denver|
|2000||1 (18)||Chad Pennington||QB||New York Jets|
|2 (43)||Rogers Beckett||S||San Diego||3 (88)||Doug Chapman||RB||Minnesota|
|6 (175)||James Williams||WR||Seattle|
|1998||1 (21)||Randy Moss||WR||Minnesota|
|5 (148)||John Wade||C||Jacksonville|
|1993||8 (198)||Troy Brown||WR||New England|
|1989||4 (112)||Mike Barber||WR||San Francisco|
|6 (164)||Sean Doctor||TE||Buffalo|
|1983||7 (186)||Carl Lee||DB||Minnesota|
|1967||14 (353)||Andy Socha||RB||Washington|
|1965||16 (211)||Tom Good||LB||New York Giants|
|1964||18 (251)||Mike Hicks||G||Green Bay|
|1962||17 (234)||Rucker Wickline||C||Detroit|
|1959||29 (338)||Jim O'Connor||C||Chicago Cardinals|
|1958||15 (170)||Ray Dunlap||B||Chicago Cardinals|
|24 (288)||Jim O'Connor||T||Cleveland|
|1956||8 (97)||Len Hellyer||B||Cleveland|
|1955||18 (210)||Albie Maier||G||Pittsburgh|
|1957||13 (157)||Jim Swierczek||B/E||Detroit|
|1950||13 (170)||Norm Willey||B||Philadelphia|
|1948||21 (193)||Charley Snyder||T||Pittsburgh|
|1942||13 (120)||Jackie Hunt||B||Chicago Bears|
|1941||7 (53)||Jim Roberts||C||Pittsburgh|
|1940||14 (126)||Jack Morlock||B||Detroit|
|1939||17 (151)||Everette "Boot" Elkins||B||Chicago Cardinals|
|18 (162)||Frank Huffman||G||Chicago Cardinals|