Why Patriots Moved Ohio State Tight End Rashod Berry To Defense

Rashod Berry played both ways as a senior at Ohio State

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There?s only one player listed at two different positions on the New England Patriots’ roster: undrafted rookie tight end/linebacker Rashod Berry.

Berry wore a blue jersey in training camp practices open to the media, indicating the Patriots were leaning towards playing the Ohio State product on defense.

?They wanted to see me on that side of the ball,? Berry said Tuesday on a video conference call with the media. ?At the end of the day, I’m a football player. So, if they want me back on offense, I’ll play offense, special teams, special teams, defense, defense. So either way it goes. They just wanted to see what I could do on defense.?

It?s not shocking that the Patriots were undecided on Berry?s position when he came to New England as a rookie free agent. Berry was recruited as an athlete after playing a variety of different roles from slot receiver to tight end, inside linebacker and defensive end at Lorain (Ohio) High School.

He began his college career at tight end with the Buckeyes but was struggling as a blocker, so he got moved to the defensive line. A tight end was booted from the program a year later, so Berry moved back to tight end, where he was suddenly playing on the second string, as a sophomore. Berry spent two full seasons on offense before playing both ways as a tight end and defensive lineman as a senior.

Overall, Berry caught 17 passes for 198 yards with four touchdowns and registered seven tackles in his college career. At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, Berry has the size to play defensive end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker, tight end or even fullback on the Patriots.

And he believes his experience at tight end could wind up helping him on defense.

?You?ve got certain instincts,? Berry said. ?At tight end, I know if I’m on the edge, I’m blocking out, I’m doing certain blocking schemes. So, when I go to defense, I kind of know, ‘OK, if he’s lining up like this, I should know he should be doing this block or he should be doing this block.’ So, it kind of gives me the upper hand because I know what a tight end would do or a defensive end would do.?

Berry?s athleticism stood out in open training camp practices to the media. He?s inexperienced on the defensive side of the ball, but his versatility could help him win a roster spot in a year with so much uncertainty since New England could lose players if they test positive for COVID-19. The fact that Berry might be able to help the Patriots on offense, defense or special teams could be appealing.

Photo via New England Patriots.

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