Free Agency: How Roberts fits with the Steelers

Elandon Roberts, ILB, 8th season, 6-1, 238 pounds

The Steelers signed free agent linebacker Elandon Roberts, who spent four seasons with the Patriots before playing the past three years in Miami.

Roberts is a rangy veteran who started all 17 games for Miami last season, making 104 tackles while recording 4.5 sacks. In 2021, he started 15 of 17 games, registering 83 tackles with one sack, an interception and two forced fumbles.

Roberts, who turns 29 in April, has started 76 of the 107 games in which he has appeared since coming into the NFL as a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2016 out of the University of Houston.

At his pro day in 2016, Roberts ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at 234 pounds with a 36-inch vertical leap.

Roberts has proven to have a nice feel as a blitzer in his time in the NFL, timing up his pass rushes. In his seven seasons, he's recorded 11 sacks and 26 quarterback hits. His career-high 4.5 sacks in 2022 came on just 24 pass rushes according to Pro Football Focus.

Steelers signed LB Elandon Roberts on a two-year contract

That gave him that site's highest pass rushing grade among off-ball linebackers in the NFL in 2022.

His signing, along with that of Cole Holcomb of Washington, represents a complete makeover of the Steelers' off-ball linebacking corps in 2023.

The Steelers had a three-man rotation of Myles Jack, Robert Spillane and Devin Bush at inside linebacker in 2022. But that trio failed to produce a single forced fumble or interception.

Spillane has signed with the Raiders as a free agent, while Bush remains a free agent. Jack, who led the team in tackles despite struggling through a groin injury, was released.

That leaves 2022 seventh-round draft pick Mark Robinson as the lone holdover at the position. And Robinson played just 44 defensive snaps last season.

• Dale Lolley is co-host of "SNR Drive" on Steelers Nation Radio. Subscribe to the podcast here: Apple Podcast | iHeart Podcast

With Holcomb and Roberts now in the equation, it seems the Steelers have an idea of how they'd like to approach the position. Holcomb will be the every-down linebacker who plays more in coverage. Roberts appears to be the run-stopping thumper who also can be utilized as a blitzer.

The other thing he brings to the equation for the Steelers is playoff experience. Roberts played in three Super Bowls with the Patriots, winning two.