Elandon Roberts, LB-FB
However, linebacker Elandon Roberts has turned into a typical two-way player under Bill Belichick, providing some punch at the fullback position.
That transition was fully evident in the team’s AFC East clinching victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 16. Not only did Roberts add some attitude to the running game, he opened some hole for both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead to explode through.
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In all, Elandon Roberts is certainly not on the level as James Develin, but he is fulfilling a role the team needs heading into the playoffs by providing some consistency at the fullback position. What better defensive player to convert to the position other than a middle linebacker.
"“We needed a fullback. We needed to be able to keep the steam going,” Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears said regarding Roberts, via Masslive.com. “He was very willing to do it. As you guys all know, Elandon is great at going downhill and knocking the pass out of somebody. So, we’re kind of excited to have him do it.”"
The reason to watch Elandon Roberts in this matchup against the Miami Dolphins is to see if the team can continue the momentum in the running game they established against the Bills.
With Sony Michel questionable for the game, the New England Patriots may be looking for more production out of Burkhead, Brandon Bolden and perhaps third-round pick Damian Harris. Those running backs are able to break tackles a bit better than Michel so Roberts’ ability to create some holes and get out in front may be one of the keys for the offense to get going early and gain control in this game.
Prediction: Elandon Roberts will provide a couple key blocks in the running game and will be active on defensive with at least five tackles.