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NFL Training Camp Rookie Profile: Michael Roberts, TE, Detroit Lions

Transitioning from college to situational player and beyond

NCAA Football: Toledo at Western Michigan Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Roberts had a huge senior year for the Toledo Rockets. He parlayed 16 touchdown receptions and first team All-MAC honors into a 4th round selection by the Detroit Lions. The question is where will he go from here?

He likely wont be a starter in Detroit next season. They have former Tarheel Eric Ebron, who is filling his role in the offense quite nicely. An athletic tight end, he plays more like a slot receiver at times, and hauled in 61 receptions for 711 yards and a touchdown. That’s where the good news starts for Roberts.

Ebron isn’t a traditional tight end, and doesn’t do a great job blocking, especially close to the line. At 6’5 and 270 pounds, Roberts should grow into his roll as a blocker quite nicely.

The Lions struggled in the red zone last season, and fixing that is a priority this season. His frame allows him to be a double edged sword close to the goal line. On passing plays, he can post up in the corner, and his great hands make him an ideal target. On rushing downs, he can be an additional blocker.

According to this report from Sports Illustrated, the Lions are working to get both players on the field at the same time. What is also apparent from the article is that the other Lion tight ends struggled to produce, even when Ebron was out with injuries.

Barring injuries, Roberts wont begin the year as a starter. If the work ethic is there, which I believe it is, there is little doubt he can become an NFL starter.

Michael Roberts By The Numbers

  • Size: 6’4, 270 lbs
  • Age: 23
  • 40 time: 4.86
  • Vertical jump: 30 inches
  • Career receptions: 70
  • Career touchdowns: 22