Patriots

3 things to know about Patriots draft pick Sam Roberts

Getting selected by the Patriots was a fairy tale ending in the draft process for Roberts.

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

After drafting for speed and adding players at the skill positions for six straight picks, the Patriots went back into the trenches in the sixth round.

New England selected Northwest Missouri State’s Sam Roberts with its second sixth-round pick (No. 200 overall).

Here are three things to know about the interior lineman.

He won a top award for his 2021 season.

Roberts emerged as one of the best defensive players in Divison II football over the last few seasons.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 season for Roberts’s Northwest Missouri State squad. But when he came back for his sixth year in 2021, he put up monster numbers. Roberts had 61 combined tackles (18 for loss), 6.5 sacks, and a forced fumble over 13 games.

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

When it was announced in December that he had won the award, Roberts didn’t get the news right away as he left his phone in his car that was shipped off to Las Vegas.

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

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

He had a side job in college that’s much different from football.

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

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

“I feel like the Bearcat community pours so much into us and I think it is only right that we pour back what we can in the free time that we do have,” Roberts told the Maryville Forum. “I have a heart for the elderly and my initial goal in life was to become a physician’s assistant, a P.A.”

Roberts was also quite popular at the nursing home.

“The residents all 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 they all absolutely loved him. … Every single time, their faces would light up when he would walk into the room because they liked him that much.”

He’s a big Patriots fan.

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

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

A couple weeks prior to that win, Roberts had a message for Chiefs fans during the 2018 AFC Championship Game.

Roberts also appears to still be a fan of Tom Brady even after the star quarterback left New England, sending out multiple tweets in March celebrating Brady’s unretirement.

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Outside of Brady, Roberts’s other favorite Patriots player was Vince Wilfork, telling reporters that he was a big fan of his growing up.

When he got the call from Bill Belichick on Saturday, Roberts said he lost his breath for a second due to excitement.

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

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