3 Things to Know About Sam Roberts, Patriots Draft Pick

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Being selected by the Patriots was a fairy tale that ended in Roberts’ recruitment process.

Sam Roberts was a standout at Northwest Missouri State. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

After drafting for speed and adding players in skill positions for six straight picks, the Patriots returned to the trenches in the sixth round.

New England selected Northwest Missouri State’s Sam Roberts with their second sixth-round pick (#200 overall).

Here are three things to know about the inner attacker.

He won a top award for his 2021 season.

Roberts has emerged as one of the best defensive players in Division II football in recent seasons.

In 2018, he recorded 50 combined tackles (13 per loss), six sacks and one forced fumble in 13 games. A year later, he had similar stats, posting 49 combined tackles (10 per loss) and five sacks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled the 2020 season for Roberts’ Northwestern Missouri state team. But when he returned for his sixth year in 2021, he put in monstrous numbers. Roberts had 61 combined tackles (18 per loss), 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 13 games.

Roberts earned first-team All-American and first-team all-conference first-team honors for his season. He also won the Cliff Harris Award, which is given to the best defensive player at a small college each year.

When it was announced in December that he had won the award, Roberts did not immediately receive the news as he left his phone in his car which was sent to Las Vegas.

“I dropped off my car around 7 am on Thursday and was looking for my phone,” Roberts told Jon Dykstra of the Maryville Forum. “I looked at ‘Find my iPhone’ and realized my phone is on its way to Vegas without me. And I’m laying there on my iPad, and I get a Snapchat from Kobe saying ‘congratulations, the best in the country.’ I was like ‘What man? What are you talking?’

“Then I got on Twitter and it was exploding and then someone else Snapped me and the Snaps kept rolling. I was like, ‘This is crazy, I won the Cliff Harris Award.’ So I just got up and did a happy little dance, you know.”

He had a side job in college that is very different from football.

As dominant as he was on the field, Roberts was also dominant off it. The defensive tackle was also selected to the MIAA Honor Roll three times.

That wasn’t the only impressive thing Roberts did when he wasn’t playing football at Northwest Missouri State. Roberts also worked as a nurse’s aide at a local nursing home.

“I feel like the Bearcat community is so dedicated to us and I think it’s only fair that we give back what we can in the free time we have,” Roberts told the Maryville Forum. “I have a heart for the elderly and my initial goal in life was to become a Physician Assistant, a PA”

Roberts was also quite popular at the nursing home.

“All the residents loved him, they called him Big Sam,” Traci Garner, who supervised Roberts at the nursing home, told the Maryville Forum. “He was a very good worker and everyone loved him. … Every time, his faces would light up when he walked into the room because they liked him so much.”

He’s a big fan of the Patriots.

If Roberts’ Twitter page is to be believed, he’s been moved to tears – in a good way – by the Patriots before.

“💍💍💍💍💍💍 #6 rings I could cry right now,” Roberts tweeted the night the Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

A few weeks before that win, Roberts had a message for Chiefs fans during the 2018 AFC Championship Game.

Roberts also seems to be a fan of Tom Brady, even after the quarterback left New England, sending multiple tweets in March celebrating Brady’s retirement.

Aside from Brady, Roberts’ other favorite Patriots player was Vince Wilfork, telling reporters he was a huge fan of his growth.

When he got the call from Bill Belichick on Saturday, Roberts said he was out of breath for a second in excitement.

“It’s a fairy tale ending,” Roberts said. “You grow up watching the team and they end up picking you in the draft.”

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