It took seven years, but linebacker Elandon Roberts is finally a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Even after that time, the physical, downhill, run-stopping linebacker’s style of play still fits what the Black and Gold look for at the position. Speaking with reporters on Zoom Monday during his introductory press conference with Steelers media, Roberts stated that he believes he’s a perfect fit for the Steelers defensively and turned down other offers to finally sign with Pittsburgh.
According to Adamski, Roberts said “it’s no secret” what he looks to bring to the Steelers’ defense in the years to come.
“I’m a physical, physical linebacker. That’s just me,” Roberts said, via Adamski. “I’m gonna be myself. I’m going to be a great teammate. I’m going to get to know my teammates. Great guy in and out of the building. I’m coachable and stuff like that. From the football side of it, I just don’t feel like it’s any secret. Going into my eighth year, I think people know I’m physical, downhill, love to hit.
“I feel like Pittsburgh’s style fits me perfect, if you look at all the linebackers in the past. They’ve all been physical guys and love to hit. I’m just ready to embrace the opportunity.”
It’s been a little while since the Steelers had a true, downhill presence at the BUCK position. Vince Williams was that guy for a long, long time, but the Steelers moved on from him, brought him back, and then he ultimately retired. It’s been two seasons since Williams has been on the field, but good news is the Steelers are getting someone very similar in Roberts.
In his career, Roberts has recorded 456 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 11.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and 10 passes defensed. He’s much better working downhill than dropping into coverage as, according to Pro Football Reference, Roberts has allowed 87 receptions (113 targets) for 941 yards and six touchdowns in his six-year career. Quarterbacks have a rating of 108.8 when targeting him.
Those numbers aren’t pretty, but Roberts was signed with one thing in mind: getting downhill against the run and setting the physical tone for a defense that needs that element at the linebacker position once again.
He’s also a factor as a blitzer, which the Steelers have truly been missing at inside linebacker since Williams.
Stylistically and on paper, Roberts is a really good fit for the Steelers. He’ll come off the field in obvious passing situations but will be a two-down linebacker with some high-end special teams abilities as well. For the price the Steelers paid, it’s a very sound investment at a serious position of need.