Playing his college ball at little known Southeast Missouri State, wide receiver Paul McRoberts is competing this week among the best seniors in the country before the NFL Draft.
The odds may be stacked against Paul McRoberts' chances of making it to the NFL, but he's confident that a strong athletic past can propel him to a professional career in football.
Competing alongside players from Alabama, LSU and other traditional college football powerhouses, McRoberts is the lone representative for Southeast Missouri State in this year's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
Yes, the same Southeast Missouri State who is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference that has had only 17 players ever play a game in the NFL.
"I mean you've got all 32 teams here, so it's a blessing to be here, first off," McRoberts said of being at the Senior Bowl. "But being able to showcase your talent in front of all these coaches and GMs, you've got to go do what you can and hopefully you'll get more attention and your game will progress too. [On Tuesday], I was out there trying to really get the technique down that the coaches taught me, kind of let that get to me a little bit too much instead of just playing my game but like I said, it's a blessing to be out here with the top Alabama, Clemson, Baylor, those guys showing me love too so they make me feel comfortable and at home and just, it's football. So I'm out here to just play football."
McRoberts was prolific during his career with the Redhawks.
In total, the St. Louis native totaled 175 receptions for 2,435 yards and 29 touchdowns. During his senior season, McRoberts set career bests in receptions (76) and yards (940) while he totaled nine receiving touchdowns for the third straight season.
McRoberts was able to use a bigger frame (he checked in at 6-foot-1 during Senior Bowl weigh-ins) to outplay the competition.
As he tries to showcase his skillset during the week (he had good 1-on-1 battles with LSU's Jalen Mills), McRoberts has also given a glimpse of the advantages he had from a college basketball career.
During his sophomore year, McRoberts was on Southeast Missouri State's basketball team where he appeared in 13 games and averaged nearly six points per game along with two rebounds per game as a rotational player.
"I feel like basketball really helped," McRoberts said. "Going to get rebounds, going to high point the ball which helped me in football, just playing defense and being able to move your hips, move your feet, and really be competitive out there really helped me a lot. I feel like baseball helped, too, I know I played baseball a long time ago, but I feel like my hand-eye coordination and learning how to catch the ball really helped me. And I just use all that to put into football. I said I have a better chance in the NFL than the NBA because every guy in the NBA is 6-10 and I'm [6-foot-1] and football corners aren't that tall. I've got huge hands, as you can tell and I really can catch the ball and I'm a go to guy."
While he doesn't know which team will take a chance on him later this year, McRoberts is simply going to enjoy being in the spotlight for once.
After all, if he makes it McRoberts will be the only Southeast Missouri State product currently in the NFL.
"It's going to be real special," McRoberts said of playing in the Senior Bowl. "It's going to give me a chance to really boost my draft stock and show people who I really am. At the end of the day, I'm the [only] one to come from my school and that's a blessing, so I'm really doing it for me, but at the end of the day I'm doing it for everyone who's showing me love and support and has believed in me as well. I'm just wanting to show everybody that I really can do it and why I should be drafted to a team. I feel great being out here, and I feel like it's just normal and I should be here."