With their 200th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Patriots selected defensive lineman Sam Roberts from Division-II Northwest Missouri State. Roberts’ is the team’s first pick in this year’s draft playing in the front seven.
A four-year contributor for the Bearcats, Roberts had 47 tackles for a loss and 18.5 sacks in 50 career games. He was also a menace on special teams, with five blocked kicks in his time in Maryville. At 6-foot-5, 292 pounds Roberts has the size and length to come off the edge and rush the passer while still holding ground against the run.
Roberts had a career year in 2021 after the Bearcats didn’t play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In 13 games last fall, he recorded 18 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. Following the season, he was named the MIAA Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a Division-II All-American.
This is the second time in the last three years the Patriots have drafted a Division-II player, with Roberts joining 2020 second-round pick Kyle Dugger. They also signed Gunner Olszewski as a UDFA in 2019 from the D-II ranks.
In New England, Roberts will join a defensive front looking to improve after ranking 25th against the run last year. He’ll also likely have a chance to contribute on special teams, given his success there in college.
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