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Steelers All 90: Elandon Roberts Loves Pittsburgh’s LB Legacy



Steelers Elandon Roberts
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Elandon Roberts at OTAs, May 31, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Elandon Roberts went from being just another late round draft choice to a team captain on two different defenses over his eight-year NFL career. After seven successful seasons and two Super Bowl victories, Roberts hit free agency for the fourth time in his career and the dream destination came calling.

“I was able to hit free agency, had the opportunity and what a better of an organization to be apart of than to put that Steelers [logo] on your chest,” said Roberts. “It was kind of a no-brainer, if presented the opportunity I always wanted to be a Steeler. To be honest, it’s just a place of God because he put me here at the right time. I am ecstatic about it.”

While Roberts himself is a storied player with multiple Super Bowl rings and having played on some of the best team’s in NFL history, he has always appreciated what came before him in Pittsburgh. This deep appreciation was a driving factor in Roberts always wanting to be a member of the Steelers.

“Just because of the foundation that’s been laid way before me by all of the Steelers’ alum,” explained Roberts. “I just knew what the pillars of being a Steeler was all about. The city of Pittsburgh, I’ve always heard how blue-collar it was and that’s how I always was raised, just hard working.”

While Roberts is not the flashy sort of inside linebacker, he fits the mold of a Pittsburgh Steeler. He is a hard-hitting, downhill, run-stopping linebacker and compares well with former Steelers linebacker Vince Williams. Roberts is not going to be great in the passing-game but he should not be a liabilty either. The area that Roberts’ game excells in is run stopping and pass rushing.

Roberts tallied a career-high five sacks and 70 tackles on over 650 defensive snaps in 2023.

“I think that they can expect the type of linebacker that is going to do his job, do it well, do what my coaches ask me to do and do what my team expects me to do,” said Roberts about his game. “I am very aggressive, I love to hit, I love to run, I love to cover, I just love to play football. That is what being a Steeler is all about.”

Roberts is expected to be one of the team’s starting inside linebackers alongside fellow newcomer Cole Holcomb. Both were team captains with their former teams and both are expected to play huge roles on the Steelers’ defense in 2023.

50 • Elandon Roberts, Inside Linebacker, Houston
5-foot-11, 238 pounds, 29 years old, 8th Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Roberts to a two-year, $7 million contract on March 16, 2023 after his contract with the Miami Dolphins expired following the 2022 season.

Last season: Roberts, a team captain in 2022, played a career-high 676 defensive snaps for the Dolphins last season. Roberts posted career-highs in tackles (70) and sacks (5) while recording a 57.1 grade on defense by Pro Football Focus.

Roberts tallied a two-sack game against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6. In the Dolphins Week 7 matchup with the Steelers, Roberts recorded two tackles and a quarterback hurry on 35 defensive snaps.

Elandon Roberts

Miami Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) walks on the sidelines during an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)

Career: The New England Patriots drafted Roberts with the 214th pick in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Roberts appeared in 12 games as a rookie and made 34 tackles and forced a fumble on 271 defensive snaps. The Patriots wan the Super Bowl in Roberts’ rookie season. He also finished with the best PFF grade of his career in 2016.

Roberts became a full-time starting linebacker in his second season for the Patriots and made his first two career sacks in a Week 12 game against the Dolphins.

In 2018, Roberts appeared in all 16 games and recorded 49 tackles and two sacks on 429 snaps. Roberts recorded one tackle in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory against the Los Angeles Rams.

Roberts was voted as a team captain during his final season in New Englans but played a career-low 202 defensive snaps. The Patriots used Roberts as a fullback in 2019 as well and he scored his first career touchdown against his future team, the Dolphins.

Roberts signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins following the 2019 season. The Dolphins named Roberts as the starting inside linebacker out of camp and he played in 13 games before being placed on the injured reserve. He finished his first year in Miami with 50 tackles, one sack, and one interception.

Roberts re-signed with the Dolphins in 2021 and played in all 17 games while posting 50 tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble on 620 defensive snaps.

In 2022, Roberts played a career-high 676 defensive snaps and recorded 70 tackles and five sacks.

Year Team GP Tackles Sacks FFs INTs DEF Snaps PFF Grade
2016 NE 12 34 0 1 0 271 64.5
2017 NE 15 49 2 0 0 558 48.3
2018 NE 16 41 1 0 0 429 63.2
2019 NE 14 20 1 0 0 202 61.9
2020 MIA 13 48 2 1 0 402 29.3
2021 MIA 17 50 1 1 1 620 54.1
2022 MIA 17 70 5 0 0 676 57.1

CollegeRoberts committed to Morgan State and played phenomally as a freshman. In 2012, Roberts led the team with 107 tackles, which ranked second all-time in school history. Roberts finished 11th in the Jerry Rice award which is given to the nation’s top freshman at the FCS level. After his great freshman season, Roberts transferred to the University of Houston.

Roberts first season at Houston was spent playing limited snaps as he only appeared in two games. He did not record any tackles as a sophomore.

In 2014, Roberts’ role increased at Houston as he played in 12 games and made 17 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss.

As a senior in 2015, Roberts started all 14 games for the Cougars as he finished with 142 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, one interception, and a forced fumble. Roberts helped lead Houston to an American Conference championship and a Peach Bowl victory over Florida State. For his efforts, Roberts was invited to the Senior Bowl following the season.

Year School GP Tackles Sacks INTs FF
2012 Morgan State 107 2 1 0
2013 Houston 2 0 0 0 0
2014 Houston 12 17 1 0 0
2015 Houston 14 142 6 1 1

Salary cap and future: Roberts is entering the first year of his two-year contract with the Steelers in which he will earn $7 million in total money. He has a $2.335 million signing bonus which is fully guaranteed and will be paid over the two years. In 2023, Roberts will earn $1.165 million in salary and another $1.167 million in bonus money making his cap hit $2.332 million. Next season, Roberts will cost $4.667 million against the Steelers’ cap.

If the Steelers release or trade Roberts after the first season, they will pay only a $1.167 million dead cap penalty. If Roberts stays for the duration of the contract, he will become a free agent after the 2024 season.

The rest of the 90: