Despite having made some significant investments along their defensive line during the 2021 offseason, the position group was still a potential target for the New England Patriots in the 2022 draft. They did indeed address it, but waited until the sixth round to do so: with the 200th overall selection, Northwest Missouri State’s Sam Roberts was brought aboard.
The winner of the Cliff Harris Award as the nation’s top non-Division I defender, Harris has an impressive résumé despite playing small-school football. Part of it is his ability to stay on the field on a rather consistent basis.
2019 (Southwest Missouri State): Roberts missed two games in late October and early November due to an undisclosed injury. He did return for a contest against Fort Hays State and promptly delivered one of the best games of his season, registering five tackles and a sack. Roberts did not miss any more time due to the mystery ailment.
2022 (Pro day): A right groin injury limited Roberts during his pro day workout. He was unable to participate in the broad jump and short-shuttle drills as a result, but was able to finish others such as the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill or vertical jump.
What it means for the Patriots
Roberts may have dealt with the occasional bumps and bruises throughout his career at Northwest Missouri State, but he did not suffer any major injuries or miss any significant time on the sidelines. As a result, he was able to appear in 50 games with 38 starts.
As far as the Patriots are concerned, they have little to worry about as far as his injury history is concerned. While having played Division-II football with the Bearcats — meaning the jump to the NFL will be a massive one — he showed that he can handle the baseline physicality of playing along the trenches.
How would you grade the Patriots’ selection of DT Sam Roberts at No. 200?
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