FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick was in a great mood Friday night after drafting Oklahoma defender Geneo Grissom.
Belichick raved about his new chess piece’s versatility and all of the different roles Grissom played with the Sooners.
“In 2013, they played a 3-4 defense,” Belichick said about Oklahoma. “He’s played under two different coordinators, but when Mike Stoops came back with his 3-4 defense, they didn’t have enough depth there at defensive end, so he played 4-technique in 2013 at 260 pounds. He was way undersized, but he competed well. They didn’t knock him off the line of scrimmage. He didn’t look like a linebacker in there. You probably wouldn’t think he’s that light. You wouldn’t know it by the way he played.
“He has good playing strength, runs well, This year, it looked like they had more depth on the defensive line, and they moved him to outside linebacker, so both last year and this year, on third down, he played end and then also bumped inside to an inside-rusher position. They had pretty good edge guys. (Eric) Striker and the other kid — underclassman. (Grissom’s) the guy who would move down inside at times. He was productive there against Alabama, for example. He’s rushed inside, he’s rushed outside. He’s played anywhere from the end of the line, five-technique, defensive end in a 4-3, outside lineabcker in a 3-4.”
From watching highlight reels of Grissom, he has a tendency to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. His 37-inch vertical leap certainly helps in that department.
“I’d say he’s very instinctive as a pass rusher,” Belichick said. “And he’s in coverage a decent amount of the time as a walk-off linebacker, so you see a guy play out in space out over the slot, he does a lot of that. I’d say a guy to play from 3-technique to end of the line, to a walk-down linebacker — at the Senior Bowl they actually played him off the line, like in a tackle bubble — so he’s a pretty athletic, versatile guy.”
One thing Grissom likely won’t be doing is playing tight end, but Belichick said he could. Grissom briefly moved to tight end in 2012 before shifting back to defensive end.
“No, we’re not trying to make him a tight end, but his workout as a tight end is about as good of a tight end workout as we saw all year,” Belichick said. “I mean, this guy can run, he can catch. If you didn’t know he didn’t play tight end, you would look at that workout and say ‘that’s a pretty good tight end.'”
Grissom wasn’t high on many draft experts’ rankings, but Belichick certainly sounds excited about bringing him to New England. Versatility can go a long way with the Patriots, and Grissom has it in spades.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images
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