During the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons, linebacker Elandon Roberts showed an element to his game that does not get enough attention: his ability to blitz and make plays in the backfield.
This upcoming Sunday, Roberts will make his regular-season debut in a Steelers uniform against a tough, hard-hitting San Francisco 49ers team. Even though the defense should have plenty of pass-rush arsenal on their defensive line, the area they may least expect should be coming through the middle.
Last season with the Miami Dolphins, Roberts set career highs in total tackles, sacks, and tackles for loss. With this in mind, fans saw glimpses of his abilities against the Falcons, as he recorded a sack and a QB hit. Though Roberts' specialty is stopping the run, fans should not be surprised if he is used in unconventional ways to make stops in the backfield.
This year's linebacker group is far different from what the team has presented in recent memory. Roberts, in his own right, brings a blend of fundamentals and athleticism, which should quickly make him an important asset to the defense.