2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Toledo TE Michael Roberts

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Michael Roberts/Toledo TE – 6’4” 270 lbs.

The Good:

– Huge hands 11.5” and long arms 33”
– Short yardage/red zone threat (16 touchdowns in 2016)
– Plays on line tight end, wingback, and splits out wide
– Good catch radius for a man his size
– Usually shields defenders from the ball well
– Former walk-on who grew into a starter’s role

The Bad:

– Gets high off the snap, not allowing himself to use leverage to his advantage
– Not fluid in his routes, takes more steps than necessary, rounds off a lot
– Inconsistent as a blocker, despite imposing size
– Slow 40-yard dash 4.86
– Emotional player who didn’t have many reps on special teams (won’t be an NFL starter from the jump, special team work might be needed to stick to a roster)


– First team all-league honors in junior and senior years of high school in football
– Finished his college career with 39 games played, 70 receptions for 832 yards, 22 receiving touchdowns, and 2 two-point conversions
– Father spent time in jail during Roberts’ youth
– Issues in lower grades due to ADHD and a speech impediment
– Brother killed in accidental shooting along with grandmother passing due to cancer
– Finished All-MAC tight end in 2016 due to 16 touchdown receptions on 45 catches for 533 yards

Tape Breakdown:

The wingback is sent in motion just before the snap of the ball. He gets a clean release off the line of scrimmage, getting quickly into the middle of the field. Roberts catches the pigskin right in front of the defender, spins out of his tackle, then breaks another tackle with a nice stiff-arm while galloping into the end zone!

At the snap of the ball, the wingback comes out of his stance too high too quickly. This allows the rushing outside backer to come in low using leverage to knock the Rocket back. The OLB sheds the unbalanced Roberts almost immediately and helps corral the ball carrier.

Split out on the right side just two yards away from the offensive line, Roberts gets a free release and goes across the field 8 yards deep with a linebacker in his hip pocket. #41 steps in front of the receiver to make the interception while the off-balanced Roberts falls to the ground.

Lined up as an inline tight end, Roberts double teams the DE with his tackle beside him. Feeling the defender falling down, the tight end picks up the safety flowing over, but gets his big mitts on the outside of the defender’s frame (unnoticed by the referees) and knocks the safety back. Roberts continues to move down the field, misses #40 and decides to give his jersey a tug before the defender could tackle his running back, Kareem Hunt.

The Steelers met with Roberts on several occasions and seem to have a true interest in him, especially with his knack of scoring points near the red zone (could make Roethlisberger happy). He is a big body that has the tools to become a better run and pass blocker as well, but didn’t show it often as a Toledo Rocket. Will probably be a third string tight end to begin his NFL career, but could in time develop into a starter.

Projection: Day Three (most likely fifth or sixth rounder)

Games Watched: 2017 Shrine Game, Appalachian State, @BYU, @Northern Illinois, Bowling Green

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Zay JonesJimmie GilbertGlen AntoineTarell BashamDuke Riley
Rayshawn JenkinsChad KellyTrey HendricksonJeremy SprinkleJoe Williams
D’Onta ForemanCarlos WatkinsDamontae KazeeWayne GallmanWillie Quinn
Xavier WoodsElijah HoodMalik McDowellDesmond KingSolomon Thomas
Cordrea TankersleyRaekwon McMillanJosh Harvey-ClemonsChristian McCaffreyChris Carson
Montravius AdamsAaron JonesMack HollinsDeatrich Wise JrAdoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-SchusterJosh JonesDavon GodchauxLorenzo JeromeQuincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatuMike WilliamsAhkello WitherspoonDede WestbrookTedric Thompson
Marcus MayeJoe MixonTaywan TaylorTyson FernandezJarrad Davis
Ishmael ZamoraDaeshon HallCJ BeathardKendell BeckwithJalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul DouglasMarcus WilliamsDevonte FieldsJustin EvansKenny Golladay
Marquez WhiteChad WilliamsCurtis SamuelD.J. JonesSeth Russell
Amara DarbohNoah BrownMalik HookerCarroll PhillipsIsaiah Ford
Marlon HumphreyT.J. LoganJalen MyrickChad HansenEddie Jackson
Budda BakerJahad ThomasFabian MoreauMatt MilanoTashawn Bower
Jason CroomJamal AgnewHoward WilsonShaquill GriffinKeionta Davis

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Call me silly. On GIF # 2 me it looked as if he had the OLB turned. The play was slow to develop due to the offside LB crashing. On the double team they collapse the DT, he gets a piece of the LB and takes him out of the play and then gets the tail of #40′ shirt (stupid). I believe those would be “above the line” plays. IMHO?

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I like him and I want him on this team!

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Same. I have been eagerly awaiting this review of him but am a little concerned given this review.
    But really at that point in the draft (6th round on), it’s all a crapshoot anyway, AB and Keisel being obvious exceptions.

  • PaeperCup

    Kittle or bust. JK, there are literally at least half a dozen TEs in this class that I would be happy with. Roberts is one of them. Whether he’d be a game change, I don’t know, but he is far from a bad prospect.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I’m playing it more of the sense that Ladarius Green will be playing and we won’t need a top tier tight end, and surly Roberts can take Grimble’s spot!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Looks tough to bring down tho! Looks like he will run thru a few dbs before he goes down! I love that! Shaheen is like that too! Only thing about Shaheen I don’t want to go tight end early, but hey I’m not driving!

  • PaeperCup

    Yeah, Shaheen was originally going to be a late rounder, but I’ve been consistently seeing him mocked in the 2nd these days. As far as the big guys go, Roberts is definitely appealing in the same ways Shaheen was.

  • Ace

    Has been on my personal mock in round 6 for weeks. Fit makes too much sense. Instantly upgrades the red area offense. Him, JJ and Green on the goal line would be a nightmare for Defenses. He is what he is, and you could do a lot worse than a goal line weapon in round 6. I thought he was bigger than 6’4″, must have read wrong early on, thought he was 6’6″. Either way, those mitts and arms are awesome.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    That works!!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I thought he was 6’6″ myself.

  • Matt Manzo

    Not playing special teams could be a pretty big knock against him.

  • steelburg

    I like this guy. I think if he lost a little weight he would be a little more dynamic. But I think he would be a awesome value pick later in the draft.

  • SilverSteel

    Grimble improved throughout his tenure. He is super athletic and I would not count him out. I bet he breaks out this year. He is a worker.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    He got iffy hands tho!