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Lions grab LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, TE Michael Roberts in fourth round

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Jalen Reeves-Maybin

Allen Park – The Detroit Lions have added another linebacker and a tight end in the fourth round of 2017 draft. The team selected Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin with the No. 124 pick and snagged Toledo tight end Michael Roberts three picks later.

Reeves-Maybin is six-foot and 230 pounds and is coming off a season where he was limited to four games with a shoulder injury.

The previous two seasons, he recorded more than 100 tackles each year, including 25 behind the line of scrimmage. He also missed quite a few tackles, whiffing 17 times during the stretch, according to Pro Football Focus.

Reeves-Maybin didn’t participate at the combine, but had a good showing at his pro day, running the 40 in 4.65 seconds with a 35 ½-inch vertical jump.

The selection comes three rounds after the Lions added Florida standout Jarrad Davis in the first round.

Roberts winds up being the tight end everyone expected the Lions to add via the draft.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder gained some attention at the Senior Bowl for his monstrous 11 ½ inch hands, which contributes to his low drop rate. He’s also an impact player in the red zone, catching 16 touchdowns for the Rockets last season.

In addition to his receiving ability, Roberts has the frame to handle in-line blocking responsibility.

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Round / overall: Fourth / 124

College: Tennessee

Position: Linebacker

Height / weight: 6-0 / 230

Breakdown: Led Tennessee in tackles as a sophomore (101) and junior (105) but his senior season was marred by getting ejected in the season opener for targeting, then missing time after the fourth game because of shoulder surgery. Reeves-Maybin considered redshirting and returning to the Vols in 2017 but opted to go to the NFL instead. Strengths are his instincts, he’s always around the ball, and loves to shoot gaps and make plays. He’s fluid and has the ability to change direction and also chase in coverage. But some scouts feel Reeves-Maybin lacks ideal size and usually takes the brunt of punishment on initial impact with ballcarriers. Has had trouble with his shoulder in the past, which makes it a concern.

Michael Roberts


Round / overall: Fourth / 127

College: Toledo

Position: Tight end

Height / weight: 6-5 / 270

Breakdown: His personal story, and ability to overcome, is quite impressive. Roberts’ father spent time in jail, a younger brother was killed in an accidental shooting, and he lost his grandmother to cancer. Roberts, himself, was suspended from elementary school multiple times before it was discovered he had a speech impediment and attention deficit disorder. Roberts is a big target and he’s productive, as 80 percent of his career catches went for first downs and 16 of his 45 catches in 2016 went for touchdowns. But his blocking needs work. His angles to the linebacker need refining, and he misses too often in open space.