Protected Content to block a URL

I have a question about blocking specific URLS.

I have a folder in the root of my domain that has links to pdf files. I would like to block access to them/allow users of specific roles to view them.

The file structure I have set up is:

public_html/pdfs/filename

public_html/AAA/wp-content… — wordpress is installed in a subfolder(AAA)

The reason I have the pdfs located in that folder, is because I need a clean URL to be mywebsite/pdfs/fielname.. If I move it into the websitename folder the pdf URL’s become

mywebsite/AAA/pdfs/filename..

Is there any way to have the PDF’s be included in the protected content membership?

If not, where do I need to put the pdf folder in order to have them be able to be part of the protected content plugin?