Roach gearing up for NFL Draft
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
It’s a good thing Brad Roach doesn’t mind people looking at him.
Several eyes have been on the former Williamston High School and Catawba College standout as he prepares for the upcoming NFL Draft, which will be held April 26-27 in New York City. Roach is patiently waiting for draft day, though he admits he’s getting a bit anxious.
“It feels like it’s taking forever to get here,” Roach said. “I’m definitely excited about it. It kind of depends on where my future goes.”
The 6-6, 248-pound All-American quarterback, who has already earned a degree in sports management, opened some eyes after he performed well during a pair of Pro Days. Roach’s latest stint came at Catawba College in front of Chris Palmer, the quarterbacks coach for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Roach, who has had correspondence from the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, is getting accustomed to the attention.
“I’m kind of used to it now,” said Roach, moments after getting off the phone with a representative from the Kansas City Chiefs. “I don’t stress over it. I just try to go out there and do my thing.”
Roach, the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year, will get another test when he heads to Houston on Thursday for a private meeting with the Texans. He’s expecting to meet the coaches, watch game film and possibly have a full-body physical while in Houston.
“It feels great,” said Roach, who will stay at his family’s home and work out in Washington leading up to the draft. “It’s a step in the right direction for me. Hopefully, I can open up some more eyes.”
Roach’s agent, Robert Walker, the CEO of Charlotte-based US Sports Management, believes his client has a great shot to play in the NFL.
“I think he has a tremendous upside,” Walker said. “He has the demeanor of a quarterback. He’s maturing in every way and he’s still growing into his body.
“He sees the field well and he can go to his third and fourth receivers well. He has an extremely strong arm.”
Roach, who participated in the Division II Cactus Bowl All-Star game, put up big numbers his senior season in leading the Indians to a playoff victory. He completed 224 of 376 (59.6 percent) passes for 3,322 yards and 32 touchdown passes.
The former co-captain of the Catawba Indians, who guided his team to an 11-2 record, completed 608 of 1,099 passes (55.3 percent) for 7,874 yards and 62 touchdown passes in his career. He also ran for 138 yards and six scores.
Roach set a handful of records during his career at Catawba. He holds the school record for passing yards in a season (3,322 in 2007), touchdown passes in a season (32 in 2007), touchdown passes in a game (five against Albany State in 2007), completions in a season (224 in 2007), efficiency rating in a season (153.4 in 2007) and passing attempts in a season (384 in 2005).
Those numbers, and his performances during the Pro Days, may help Roach hear his name get called during the NFL Draft. If Roach’s name doesn’t get called during those two days, Walker believes the quarterback will get a good shot as a free agent.
“At this point, you’re always hopeful to get drafted,” Walker said. “There’s also a downside to the draft. If you get drafted late, say the fifth, sixth or seventh round, you’ll be stuck going to that team. If you’re a free agent, you can look at your options. If Brad is a free agent, I think there will be 32 teams that will be knocking on our door.
“Quarterbacks are very unique. Sometimes those that get drafted in the first, second or third round don’t always pan out. Look at some others who got drafted late and they had great careers.”
While several NFL teams are reportedly interested in Roach, not many are making it official.
“They like to hold their cards close to their vest,” Walker said. “It’s kind of like a cat-and-mouse game.”
At least one scout compares Roach favorably to Delaware's Joe Flacco, a 6-7 quarterback who is projected as a second-round pick.
“Brad has everything going for him,” Walker said. “The team that gets him will get a steal. He has all the intangibles and he has the leadership to be a great NFL quarterback.”
Just knowing that teams are showing interest is the step in the right direction.
“It feels good,” Roach said. “I’m just hoping for a shot.”