After recording 61 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss Roberts was a first-team AFCA and DCCA All-American, second-team AP All-American; National Region 3 Defensive Player of the Year and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Defensive Player of the Year. That catapulted him to being the recipient of the 2021 Cliff Harris Award, which annually goes to the nation’s small-college defensive player of the year representing NCAA D-II, D-III and NAIA college and universities.
In addition, Roberts was selected to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll multiple times.
Roberts, 24, spent six years at Northwest Missouri State. Appearing in 50 games with 38 starts, he registered 18.5 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles. He furthermore was able to block a combined five kicks.
At 6-foot-5, 293 pounds, Roberts projects as a situational pass rusher on the interior of the defensive line. The Patriots might have a Deatrich Wise Jr.-like role in mind for him, serving as a 3-4 end moving between the 3- and 5-technique spots on passing downs.
Roberts becomes the fourth participant of this year’s East-West Shrine Bowl to get drafted by New England this year. He also is now the second Cliff Harris Award winner — given annually to the the best small-school defensive player in the nation — on the Patriots’ roster, joining safety Kyle Dugger.
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