Roberts excited for opportunity with Patriots

FOXBORO, MA—Daryl Roberts knew Sunday could be his day. The Marshall defensive back had impressed NFL scouts with his 4.36 second time in the 40-yard dash and 39-inch vertical leap, and increased his stock so much that some draft experts thought he could selected as high as the fifth round.

But Roberts had to wait 246 picks before his name was called on pick 247 when the New England Patriots selected Roberts in the seventh round.

“It’s just a true blessing. I was excited – excitement. My whole family and my whole support staff, everybody is just happy for me and excited for me,” Roberts said in an interview with Patriots.com. “It’s just an honor to have an opportunity to play for the Patriots.”

Roberts was not among the defensive backs invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis but did not let that affect his focus as he prepared for Marshall’s Pro Day and the chance to workout in front of NFL scouts.

“I always tell myself to control what I can control. The pro day for me was my combine, so I felt like went out there and did the best I could do to show what I can do.”

In addition to the 40-yard dash time and vertical leap, Roberts had an 11-1 broad jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times — topping all cornerbacks who went to the NFL Combine — and had a 4.08 short shuttle and a 6.66 three-cone drill.

“[He’s] a guy that has good size, fast, played primarily on the perimeter down there. Good player though, very good role on the team in terms of leadership and so forth,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said during a post-draft news conference.

Roberts, a 2014 first team All-Conference USA pick, became the fifth Thundering Herd player drafted in as many years and is Marshall’s 40th since the NFL Draft began in 1936. He is also the first Marshall defensive back drafted since the Cleveland Browns picked Chris Crocker in the third round of the 2003 draft.

Of course, Belichick is familiar with Marshall University. He drafted Aaron Dobson in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft and Troy Brown played 15 seasons with the Patriots and won three Super Bowls.

Roberts, who has never been to New England prior to being drafted by the Patriots, said his former teammate had some advice for him.

“He told me it’s a very good program and very smart program and you all have good coaches as anyone could see. He was just letting me know how the season would go and things like that.

FREE AGENT SIGNINGS

The Herd also had four players who signed as free agents following the 2015 NFL Draft. Tight end Eric Frohnapfel (San Diego Chargers), linebacker Neville Hewitt (Miami Dolphins), center Chris Jasperse (Cincinnati Bengals) and defensive lineman James Rouse (Houston Texans) also signed free agent contracts.





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