FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots' surprising trade of linebacker Jamie Collins on Monday has opened the door for rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts to be the primary player to fill the void.
Roberts had already seen an increase in playing time over the last four games, playing 122 defensive snaps after totaling just six in the first four games of the season.
He drew a large media crowd in the locker room Tuesday and said, "Whatever the team needs done, I'll try my best to get it done. That's how I take every week."
Here are 10 things to know about Roberts:
1. He's a sixth-round draft choice (214th overall) out of Houston.
2. He is 6-foot and 235 pounds, which means he is undersized by NFL standards.
3. On Oct. 11, Belichick explained how Roberts made an impression in training camp with his ferocious downhill play against the run. While not comparing him to longtime NFL linebackers Ray Lewis and London Fletcher, Belichick brought up both of them as examples of undersized linebackers like Roberts who played at a high level.
4. In an Oct. 9 game against the Browns, Roberts rocked All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas, which reflects his sometimes explosive downhill play in the running game. He has 21 tackles on the season.
5. Linebacker Dont'a Hightower said Roberts is like a "missile, torpedo and hammer" on sports radio WEEI.
6. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he first saw Roberts while scouting another player, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. "I kept noticing the middle linebacker for Houston making a ton of plays. I didn't even know who he was, so I went and got the [scouting] information on him," Belichick explained.
7. Roberts initially enrolled at Morgan State, playing one season before transferring to Houston.
8. As a senior at Houston, he went from hardly playing the year before to totaling 142 tackles.
9. He wasn't invited to the NFL combine but played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in California.
10. For more on Roberts' background, a recent feature by Kevin Duffy of MassLive.com is a must-read.