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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo Rockets

The man has hands

Toledo v Western Michigan Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

“All he does is catch touchdowns.” That’s the line that Buddy Ryan used about Cris Carter before cutting the wide receiver. Carter got the message, and turned around his career into a Hall of Fame worthy one. With Carter, he had some issues with partying. I have no idea about Michael Roberts in that regard, but there are certainly some similarities in their play styles.

Both would be considered great athletes at a small school, but neither blows an NFL scout away with speed and agility. Both have good size for their position, and their best attribute is their hands.

I am not going sit here and predict a Hall of Fame career for Mr. Roberts, but I do believe he will be a good NFL tight end, especially in the right situation.


Strengths

His hands measure 11.5 inches. It’s easy for me to remember, because it’s exactly the same as the length of a standard piece of paper. To put that in perspective, mine are shorter than the width of one, and I can palm a basketball. Those mitts make him extremely effective catching a football, and it shows in traffic.

When the Toledo Rockets got the ball close, or needed a 2 point conversion, they threw it to Roberts, seemingly regardless of the coverage, and he produced. 16 of his 45 receptions were for touchdowns.

He is also a big guy, at 6’5 and 270, and he can move. He just doesn’t blow teams away athletically.


Weaknesses

His measurables are middle of the road. 4.86 40 time, 30 inch vertical, and 4.51 in the 20 yard shuttle. Nothing that screams, “Don’t take this guy!” but nothing that makes an NFL scout drool.

Even though he is a big guy, he isn’t a great blocker. The effort is there, so he does a solid enough job getting in the way, but he isn’t going to line up tight and blow a guy off the ball. Every one of his weaknesses in that regard can be fixed, however. There are bad angles, and an occasional whiff in space.


Overview

The sky’s the limit with this guy. If he wants it, and he is put in the right situation, there is no doubt in my mind that he can produce in the NFL. I think he’ll be in for a shock when he gets to the next level, going from a better athlete than the guy he is lined up across from to the less athletic guy.

He’ll probably go between the 4th and 6th round. Normally, I don’t think where a tight end goes makes that big of a difference. There are blocking tight ends, and receiving tight ends, and as long as the team knows what they are getting, it usually works out.

Roberts is a special case. His size and measurables say he is a blocking tight end, and a guy that can catch the ball 5 yards out and in traffic, and he is certainly capable of that. His strength, at least to me, is finding creases in the zone, and sitting down on smaller linebackers and defensive backs, and making plays down field.