New England Patriots 2015 NFL Draft and Beyond

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Oct 18, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Geneo Grissom (85) during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

3rd Round (97th Overall, Compensatory) – Geneo Grissom (DE, Oklahoma)


Continuing the “reach” picks by Bill Belichick and the Patriots there is their compensatory pick, Geneo Grissom out of Oklahoma. Grissom is a “tweener” who is too small at six-foot-three and 253 pounds to play 3-4 defensive end (although he did at Oklahoma) but is an athlete who can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 in the NFL. He even played tight end at Oklahoma and worked on and off the line on defense and has the wingspan to make some big plays tipping or knocking down passes.


Grissom is a pass rusher but turned off a number of teams due to them being unsure where he would fit on a defense. With Belichick known for getting the most out of players without a position in the NFL (see the criticism of his drafting Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins by the “draft gurus”), Grissom is a player who looks better in the context of the New England defense as they utilize his ability to disrupt defenses from multiple spots on the field.


2015 Role:

The addition of Grissom (and fourth round pick Trey Flowers) has already cost former 2013 seventh round draft pick defensive end Michael Buchanan a spot on the roster. Expect the disappointing Jake Bequette to finally wear out his welcome in New England as well. Grissom will likely break in as a third down pass rusher inside or spotting the other edge rushers when they need a breather. With his long arms, expect Grissom to be counted on to be on the kick and punt block teams.


Jan 21, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad outside linebacker Geneo Grissom of Oklahoma (85) runs through defense drills during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

2016 and Beyond:

The future of Grissom depends on his development. The Patriots could try to convert him to an interior linebacker role as a depth option behind Collins and Hightower. He has the athleticism to play either inside or outside linebacker and to play defensive end or be an interior third round pass rusher. With Rob Ninkovich starting to show his age and Chandler Jones having had injury issues over the past few seasons, Grissom is in position to be a valuable addition to the team’s pass rush.


Similar pick in the past:

The Patriots grabbed defensive end Jarvis Green in the fourth round (#126 overall) in the 2002 NFL draft. Green contributed as an athletic pass rusher off the bench for eight season and he ended up with 46 starts over that timeframe. He had 28 sacks in his career with a high of 7.5 in 2006. Bigger and stouter than Grissom to play 3-4 defensive end, Green was a valuable role player in New England and made a difference by adding a pass rush presence. Grissom could be in position to play that same role in New England.