After one year with limited playing time at West Virginia, running back Jordan Roberts opted for a college career at the University of Charleston. Roberts thrived at Charleston, as he did in high school. He earned all-state honors at both quarterback and running back as a junior and senior in high school in Yawkey, West Virginia, and earned a spot on two different All-American lists in college.
He currently holds nine records at the University of Charleston, including two NCAA Division II – records for most yards in one quarter (190) and in one half (273). In the same game where he broke those two records, he scored five touchdowns, despite playing only one series in the second half.
As a running back, receiver out of the backfield, and returner, he totaled 4,918 total yards in his three seasons with Charleston, 4,441 of which came in his junior and senior years. He scored on one out of every 11 carries and averaged 6.36 yards per carry in his career. Oh, and did I mention he also blocked two punts in his senior season?
He measured up to 5’10″ and 222 lbs. pre-draft. He also recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.49 seconds (same as new Packers running back Johnathan Franklin), a 38 -inch vertical (only two running backs were better at the NFL combine), and a 127-inch broad jump (good for second behind only Michael Ford).
He’s the running back with the most upside in this undrafted rookie class, and he’ll get his first shot to make an NFL team under Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs at their rookie camp.
Christian Hardy (CH): Through the process, did the Chiefs show interest in you before they decided to have you in for rookie camp?
Jordan Roberts (JR): Actually, I didn’t have any visits or private workouts, or anything like that. At my pro day at Fairmount State there was a bunch of scouts there, and the Chiefs were one of them. I didn’t speak with them, but I had a pretty good workout, so that probably added to it. Right before the draft, probably the week before, the Chiefs called me and they wanted to know some information for their records. They were interested.
CH: When you had your Pro Day at Fairmount State, how many teams do you think were talking to you?\
JR: The Chiefs didn’t talk to me, but there were eight or so teams at my pro day. My college didn’t have a pro day, so I went to Fairmount State’s pro day in West Virginia. I had bunch of scouts there who talked to me from lots of teams.[It's worth noting here that the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and especially the Cleveland Browns showed the most interest in Roberts early on in the draft process.]
CH: How did you find out that you were a Chief?
JR: Right after the draft, about 30 minutes after the draft, they called me and they asked me if I had signed with anybody yet, and I told them that I hadn’t. They said ‘Do you want to be a Kansas City Chief?’ I said, ‘I’d love to be a Kansas City Chief.’ They said ‘That’s great because our general manager and Andy Reid love you.’ So it was good to hear that.
CH: Have you talked to anyone else from the Chiefs organization since then?
JR: That call and [Monday] I got a call from [Chiefs Player Development Assistant] B.J. Stabler. He wanted to know my middle name and my address, all that type of stuff. He wanted to know what the closest airport to me was, and I told him ‘Yeager Airport’, which is in Charleston, West Virginia, and he said that they were going to fly me out on May 9 and they’d pay for everything, put me up in a place and pay for all of my expenses.
CH: When you got the call, were you with your family? Who were you with?
JR: Actually I wasn’t. I don’t have real good cell phone reception at my house, so I planned, during the draft, to stay with my girlfriend. She goes to the University of Charleston right now. I stayed in her apartment. I was waiting tog et some calls, so I didn’t want to not have reception when I got that important call.
CH: When you get the call, you’re with your girlfriend, what’s your reaction?
JR: Oh I was pumped. I was so excited. To know that I was going to get an opportunity with the Kansas City Chiefs. Now I’ve got to make the most of it.
CH: I was thinking about this: Have you ever been to Kansas City?
JR: No, I haven’t.
CH: In college you did everything. You threw the ball, ran the ball, caught the ball. Do you think you can be that same type of player at the next level?
JR: I’m going to do whatever the coaches tell me to do. Just do whatever I can do to contribute and help the Chiefs hopefully win a Super Bowl. I want to get in there and work my tail off and do everything I can. If they need running backs, special teamers, kick returners, kickoffs, punt block … anywhere they need me.
CH: So you’re going into Kansas City without a preference of what you’re playing?
JR: I don’t particularly care where I play. I want to contribute and make the team and help the team out and win games. Contribute and help the organization.
CH: When you decide to transfer from West Virginia to Charleston after a year, what made you make that decision?
JR: I just felt like I had a better opportunity at the University of Charleston. I didn’t look back after that. I made the most of my opportunities of Charleston.
CH: Looking back, are you happy with your decision to transfer?
JR: Yeah. I wouldn’t look back at it. I’m glad I made that decision.
CH: What’s something that you think you need to improve on to succeed at the next level?
JR: As a rookie, most rookies are new to the system. So I’m just going to have to learn fast and play fast. I just need to study my playbook as much as I can, be mentally prepared and be as physically prepared as I can be as well. I think as a running back, this past season, I improved upon it, but I think a lot of the time, I wasn’t as patient of a runner as I could have been. Sometimes I would just get the ball and go instead of waiting for my blocks to develop. Sometimes I would get impatient and try to make things happen on my own instead of waiting on my blockers. I think I can improve upon that.
CH: As far as your skill set, who do you think you would compare yourself to?
JR: I’m not exactly sure who I compare to. I’ve been asked this a couple of times. My favorite running back is Marshall Faulk. He’s a really versatile player and I think, being a versatile running back who can catch the ball and run the ball, we compare well. I don’t think he was a kick-off returner, but I think I can do that as well, or play Wildcat quarterback, if they need me to. Just do whatever the team needs me to do to win games. I think that’s who I most compare to, just based off of my versatility. Plus, we both wear number 28.
CH: Lots of players coming out of small school and doing big things. Does that give you more confidence going in?
JR: I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, I’m just trying to prove to the coaches that I can play at the next level and contribute. I’m just trying to help the Chiefs organization win games. I got a lot of determination and drive to achieve my dream. You know, this has been my dream ever since I was a little kid to play in the NFL.
CH: Have you ever played fantasy football?
JR: Yeah, back a long time ago. I don’t even remember (how I did), it’s been so long.
CH: As a kid what kind of sports were you into? When did you get into football?
JR: I started playing football when I was nine years old. My first year, they didn’t play me at running back, they played me on kickoff return. I ran back around 15 kickoff returns. I played defensive end on defense. All through my career I’ve played everything except offensive line. I’m open to playing anything to help the Chiefs out, wherever they need me, just trying to win game s and contribute to the success of the organization.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter, @JRoberts1stPick. He’ll start his NFL journey on May 9, as he’ll me make his first ever trip to Kansas City to join the Chiefs in hopes of making the final roster.