The Patriots addressed their need at the tight end position by trading with the Lions for Michael Roberts.
Michael Roberts flashed a couple times last year, particularly in week 3 when he scored 2 touchdowns. But for the most part, the 2017 4th-round pick did not see the field too much for the Detroit Lions.
However, he certainly has athletic talent and the size and speed NFL teams want in a “move” tight end. At the 2017 Combine he ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.86, and turned in a blazing time for a tight end in the 3-cone drill, running it in 7.05 seconds. He was also known coming out of Toledo as a very technically-sound blocker, which is certainly important to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Justin Rogers of detroitnews.com broke the news early this morning that the Patriots have traded for Roberts:
Many wondered, after the Patriots cut offseason acquisition Austin Seferian-Jenkins, what their next move at tight end would be. Though the drum beat over the last few days had been picking up for Matt LaCosse to start at tight end, most in the NFL community thought another move was coming. Belichick never hopes a player works out; there is always a back up plan, or two.
On the Lions side, they have totally remade their tight end group after last season, and this seems to complete the overhaul. They drafted highly touted tight end T.J. Hockenson with the 8th overall pick in the NFL Draft, and this move seems to suggest they are quite happy with him and with Jesse James, their free agent signing.
It is difficult to know if Roberts will even see the field for the Patriots or if this is just another signing that will get some hype and then die down. But NFL analyst Adam Caplan is suggesting that this move may indeed turn out to be an important one:
If he can grab a hold of the starting job left behind by Rob Gronkowski, the sky is the limit for his productivity in this offense. First, he has to learn the playbook.
Either way, he is certainly a player for Patriots fans and fantasy footballers to keep an eye on.