Elandon Roberts has only been a Pittsburgh Steeler for a couple of months but he’s ready to step into a key leadership role. Roberts was doing some leading of his own this week, attending and helping out at fellow Houston Cougar alum Grant Stuard’s football camp. KPRC’s Aaron Wilson caught up with Roberts, who is excited to finally be a Steeler.
“On Sundays, I can help lead this defense and this team in the right way,” he told Wilson.
As he’s discussed throughout the offseason, getting to play for Mike Tomlin was a big draw to why he signed with Pittsburgh. The two have known each other since Tomlin attended Roberts’ Pro Day, there primarily to watch CB William Jackson III but taking the opportunity to learn the rest of the Cougars’ draft class that year. Roberts was drafted by the New England Patriots and spent time in Miami before landing a two-year deal with Pittsburgh this offseason.
“Me and Mike T, we’ve been building that relationship since my Pro Day…now, I’m being able to have a relationship with him from a ‘he’s my head coach’ standpoint. I’m going to embrace every bit of it. Sponge all the knowledge I can off him.”
Roberts declined to get into specifics after his role but he’s the leading candidate to start next to Cole Holcomb, also signed during free agency. Roberts profiles as a two-down thumper and run-stopper in an AFC North still capable of running the ball effectively.
Pittsburgh’s spent the offseason overhauling its inside linebacker room, signing four veteran free agents. In addition to Roberts and Holcomb, the team also signed Tanner Muse and most recently, Nick Kwiatkoski. The only holdover from last year’s 53 is Mark Robinson, in-line to take a backseat role and focus on special teams instead of making a push to play defensively.
The goal of this new-look room will be to break the positional “curse” since Ryan Shazier’s career-ending spinal injury. The ILB room hasn’t been one that’s spelled longevity for free agents with the likes of Mark Barron, Jon Bostic, Joe Schobert, Avery Williamson, and Myles Jack coming and going over the last five years. Roberts is on a two-year deal, potentially making him a one-year rental, but a strong season will keep him around into 2024.