From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
Michael Roberts/Toledo TE – 6’4” 270 lbs.
– Huge hands 11.5” and long arms 33”
– Short yardage/red zone threat (16 touchdowns in 2016)
– Plays on line tight end, wingback, and splits out wide
– Good catch radius for a man his size
– Usually shields defenders from the ball well
– Former walk-on who grew into a starter’s role
– Gets high off the snap, not allowing himself to use leverage to his advantage
– Not fluid in his routes, takes more steps than necessary, rounds off a lot
– Inconsistent as a blocker, despite imposing size
– Slow 40-yard dash 4.86
– Emotional player who didn’t have many reps on special teams (won’t be an NFL starter from the jump, special team work might be needed to stick to a roster)
– First team all-league honors in junior and senior years of high school in football
– Finished his college career with 39 games played, 70 receptions for 832 yards, 22 receiving touchdowns, and 2 two-point conversions
– Father spent time in jail during Roberts’ youth
– Issues in lower grades due to ADHD and a speech impediment
– Brother killed in accidental shooting along with grandmother passing due to cancer
– Finished All-MAC tight end in 2016 due to 16 touchdown receptions on 45 catches for 533 yards
The wingback is sent in motion just before the snap of the ball. He gets a clean release off the line of scrimmage, getting quickly into the middle of the field. Roberts catches the pigskin right in front of the defender, spins out of his tackle, then breaks another tackle with a nice stiff-arm while galloping into the end zone!
At the snap of the ball, the wingback comes out of his stance too high too quickly. This allows the rushing outside backer to come in low using leverage to knock the Rocket back. The OLB sheds the unbalanced Roberts almost immediately and helps corral the ball carrier.
Split out on the right side just two yards away from the offensive line, Roberts gets a free release and goes across the field 8 yards deep with a linebacker in his hip pocket. #41 steps in front of the receiver to make the interception while the off-balanced Roberts falls to the ground.
Lined up as an inline tight end, Roberts double teams the DE with his tackle beside him. Feeling the defender falling down, the tight end picks up the safety flowing over, but gets his big mitts on the outside of the defender’s frame (unnoticed by the referees) and knocks the safety back. Roberts continues to move down the field, misses #40 and decides to give his jersey a tug before the defender could tackle his running back, Kareem Hunt.
The Steelers met with Roberts on several occasions and seem to have a true interest in him, especially with his knack of scoring points near the red zone (could make Roethlisberger happy). He is a big body that has the tools to become a better run and pass blocker as well, but didn’t show it often as a Toledo Rocket. Will probably be a third string tight end to begin his NFL career, but could in time develop into a starter.
Projection: Day Three (most likely fifth or sixth rounder)
Games Watched: 2017 Shrine Game, Appalachian State, @BYU, @Northern Illinois, Bowling Green