Hidden Patriots: Defender Could Keep Progressing After Position Change

Pass rusher Rashod Berry was a tight end at Ohio State

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Before the NFL offseason hits its full swing, NESN.com will be highlighting hidden Patriots: players on New England’s roster who have fallen under the radar for one reason or another. Next up: edge defender Rashod Berry.

Rashod Berry was a college tight end who played edge defender while donning a safety’s number in 2020 with the New England Patriots.

Among players who could take a second-year leap with the Patriots in 2021, Berry is near the top of the list. Berry, who wore No. 43 in 2020, played offense and defense at Ohio State, but he spent the majority of his time at tight end, finishing his four-year career with 17 catches for 198 yards and four touchdowns plus seven tackles.

Berry only played defense and special teams in three games with the Patriots in 2020 despite the team’s lack of depth at tight end. He finished the season with 39 snaps at outside linebacker, one at inside linebacker and 33 in the kicking game.

Berry registered just one pressure on 32 pass-rush opportunities in 2020. He also recorded a tackle in Week 17 against the New York Jets.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound defender spent most of last season on the Patriots’ practice squad but was temporarily elevated to the active roster in Weeks 6 and 13 for matchups against the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers. Berry earned a full promotion to the Patriots’ 53-man roster prior to Week 17, and that gave him a spot on the 2021 90-man roster, as well.

If the Patriots had not signed Berry prior to Week 17, then he would have been brought back as a future signing instead.

It was notable that the Patriots gave Berry as many opportunities as they did despite his relative inexperience on defense. His athleticism stood out back in training camp, but he didn’t have any opportunities to prove himself in exhibition games with the 2020 slate of preseason games canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, Berry will have a full offseason to work on his new full-time role, and the offseason workout program, training camp and preseason should return to some sense of normalcy this summer. That will only help Berry improve as he heads into his second NFL season.

More Hidden Patriots: Marqise LeeDalton KeeneKristian WilkersonDevin AsiasiIsaiah ZuberJake DolegalaDevin Smith, J.J. Taylor, Mike Jackson

Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots/David Silverman

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