When people talk about he Denver Broncos’ “No Fly Zone,” the first names that come to mind are Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. And after that, it’s probably T.J. Ward or Darian Stewart. Then, if you’re really watching the Broncos’ defense, maybe you’ll bring up Bradley Roby.

In reality, though, Roby may be one of the most important players on the Broncos’ historic defense. On the depth chart, he’s technically a backup, but in reality he’s a starter. In today’s NFL, most every defense spends the majority of their time in nickel packages, and that makes Roby invaluable.

He’s a guy who can play on the inside, on the outside and at safety. His versatility allows the rest of the secondary to do what they do best. And when he’s in coverage, you can be sure the quarterback is in for a tough time.

That’s why Ike Taylor, former Steelers cornerback and NFL Network analyst, called Roby the third-most valuable defensive back in the NFL, only trailing Tyrann Mathieu (2nd) and Patrick Peterson (1st) of the Cardinals.

“I think he’s the unsung hero. If you ask a lot of people who played for the Denver Broncos offense and defense, they say this guy is the truth. This guy can play inside, he can play outside,” Taylor said. “He’s very talented, he can play off, he can press.

“I think the first two corners in Harris Jr. and Talib, them guys get a lot of notoriety, but this guy right here man, he doesn’t mind hitting. He’s all over the ball, he’s a ball hawk.”

Roby could have been a top-10 pick in the draft a couple years back, but because of a few off-the-field concerns, he fell all the way down to the Broncos at the 31st pick in the 2014 draft. Since then, he’s defensed 24 passes, picked off six balls, forced three fumbles and recovered another three, including the game-winning return against the Chiefs in Week 2.

With Harris and Talib still in the building, Roby will remain the No. 3 cornerback on Denver’s defense. In terms of importance, though, he’s already a star.