With the 214th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select inside linebacker Elandon Roberts, University of Houston:
Roberts played at Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas, where he was selected to Port Arthur News' 40th Annual Super Team, named to the 21-5A All-District first team while also being a member of the school's track and field team. It does not appear that Roberts received any division 1-A BCS (Bowl Championship Series) football scholarships, and he began his career playing for Morgan State, located in Baltimore, Maryland as a member of the Division 1-A FCS (Football Championship Subdivision).
During his freshman year, Roberts started at middle linebacker and had 107 tackles, ranked 2nd in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC), along with nine tackles for a loss, two sacks, and one interception. He was a All-MEAC second team along with finishing 11th in the Jerry Race Award race (award given to nation's top FCS freshman) and being named the MEAC defensive player of the week three times. Roberts then transferred to the University of Houston following his freshman season and was given a transfer waiver, allowing him to play immediately rather than having to sit out a year.
In his first season for Houston, Roberts played back-up middle linebacker and also on special teams. He appeared in eight games, compiling seven tackles (four on defense, three on special teams). In his junior year with the team, Roberts played in all 12 games with 17 tackles, three and a half of them going for a loss. He had a career high nine tackles in the team's come from behind victory over Pittsburgh.
His senior year was spectacular, being named team captain, starting in all 14 games, and finishing with the most solo tackles in the nation (88) and fourth in the nation with 142 overall tackles. He had double digit tackles in seven games including 10 in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl win over Florida State. Roberts would accept an invitation to the NFLPA Bowl. Roberts would finish on the 2015 First Team All-American Athletic Conference and Phil Steele's First Team All-AAC as well.
After being selected in the sixth round in this past NFL Draft, Roberts has the chance to be an immediate contributor on day one for the Patriots on special teams. With the lack of depth at middle linebacker (Jonathan Freeny, Ramon Humber), Roberts has the chance to make the 53 man roster for the team in 2016 as a reserve linebacker, and if he impresses in training camp, he could see the field on first, second, and third down.
Roberts is described as a "coach's dream" by NFL.com's Lance Zierlein as he is a "tremendous leader on and off the field". He is undersized for the position at 6'0", 235 lbs. but has a nose for the ball and has solid tackling skills. He could turn into a solid back-up middle linebacker for the Patriots in due time, so this is a good depth pick for New England.