Name: Michael Roberts
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.
- 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.