By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Northwest Missouri State defensive tackle Sam Roberts became the seventh NFL draft pick in program history Saturday when the New England Patriots selected him in the sixth round at No. 200 overall.
Roberts is the first Northwest player to be drafted since defensive back Brandon Dixon went in the sixth round to the Jets in 2014.
A Waynesville, Missouri native, Roberts was named the 2021 Cliff Harris Award winner, which is given to the nation's best small college defensive player of the year.
Roberts was chosen the D2CCA Super Region 3 and MIAA defensive player of the year. He captured first-team All-America honors from the D2CCA and AFCA. Roberts was a second-team Associated Press All-America performer as well.
Roberts was a first-team All-MIAA performer in 2021. He led a dominant Bearcat defense and recorded 18 tackles-for-loss and 6.5 sacks in 13 games this past season. His 18 tackles-for-loss tied for the eighth-best single-season mark in Bearcat history.
Roberts helped guide Northwest to a No. 2 national ranking in scoring defense (12.1 points allowed per game) and No. 4 in the country in total defense (223.6 yards allowed per game). Following the season, Roberts competed in the Hula Bowl and the East-West Shrine Bowl.
Not long after, Northwest wide receiver Kaden Davis signed as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos.
Davis had led the Bearcats with 714 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 44 receptions this past season. That effort earned him honorable mention all-MIAA accolades.