News & Analysis

PFF scouting report: Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo

By PFF Analysis Team
Mar 25, 2017
Detroit Lions Michael Roberts

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TOLEDO, OH - OCTOBER 15: Tight end Michael Roberts #80 of the Toledo Rockets celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against Bowling Green Falcons at Glass Bowl on October 15, 2016 in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)

Name: Michael Roberts

School: Toledo

Position fit: Inline tight end with ability to be moved around

Stats to know: Earned the highest overall grade and second-highest receiving grade among draft-eligible tight ends in the 2016 season.

What he does best:

  • A former walk-on, Roberts’ breakout 2016 season coincided with a change from Phillip Ely to Logan Woodside under center; the result was 16 touchdown receptions after scoring four the season prior.
  • Strong hands — only three dropped passes out of 51 catchable targets in 2016.
  • Uses his frame well to shield defenders, particularly on back-shoulder throws; red-zone weapon.
  • Ran a diversified repertoire of routes; seven touchdown receptions on go routes in 2016 season.
  • Utilizes strong core, wingspan to drive blocks — only one quarterback pressure allowed the last three seasons combined.
  • High-effort run blocker — fifth-highest average run-blocking grade per snap over the last three years in the 2017 TE draft class.

Biggest concerns:

  • Not an explosive athlete; ran a 4.86-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and the lack of straight-line speed shows up on tape.
  • Averaged only 3.7 yards after the catch per reception, tied for 136th in the nation in 2016.
  • High-energy playing style can sometimes lead to emotional outbursts.
  • Minimal special teams experience.

Player comparison: Damon Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars (retired)

Look up Jones’ career. At 6-foot-5, 270-pounds, Jones was a classic No. 2 tight end for the Jaguars from 1997–2001, doing strong work as a run blocker and catching 11 touchdowns as a red-zone threat. Roberts can fill a similar role in a two-TE-heavy offense, where he can block and catch touchdowns.

Bottom line: Roberts may be limited athletically, but his big body and run-blocking ability have a place in the league. He knows how to use his body to create just enough of a window to move the chains and become a strong red-zone option while providing strong run-blocking at the point of attack.

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