Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday we looked at No. 49 Joe Cardona, and the day before that it was No. 50 Rob Ninkovich. Because today marks 48 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 48, rookie outside linebacker Geneo Grissom.
In late May, Oliver Thomas of 247 Sports noted that Grissom will be taking the No. 48 jersey, at least for the time being.
In case you’ve been living under a rock since the confetti fell in the Arizona desert, the Patriots’ cornerback group has suffered four major losses this offseason. Count it—Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard have departed since earning their Super Bowl rings.
Why has Bill Belichick been seemingly so nonchalant when it comes to retaining cornerbacks? Well, it’s because the Pats’ front seven is perhaps the most upward tracking unit in the AFC. And that is due in part to the youth movement that we are currently in the midst of, one of which Grissom is most certainly a part.
Here’s the thing: Grissom has the potential to be the dark horse of the Patriots’ 2015 draft class. And it’s because he’s an extremely versatile front seven player; he played both defensive end and outside linebacker at Oklahoma, proving himself as an edge rusher as well as a coverage linebacker.
Simply put, Belichick absolutely loves versatile defensive players. This is what he had to say about Grissom while glowing with excitement after Day 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft.
"I’d say he’s very instinctive as a pass rusher. 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."
Grissom will report to training camp this coming Thursday, where he’ll have to prove himself among a crowded group of rookie front seven players: Trey Flowers, Xzavier Dickson and Matthew Wells.
For more reading on Grissom, see why Rich Hill of PatsPulpit compares Grissom to Akeem Ayers in terms of flexibility as a fixture in the Patriots’ front seven.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 51 Jerod Mayo, No. 52 Dane Fletcher, No. 53 Eric Martin, No. 54 Dont’a Hightower, No. 55 Jonathan Freeny, No. 58 Darius Fleming, No. 59 Chris White, No. 60 David Andrews, No. 61 Marcus Cannon, No. 62 Ryan Wendell, No. 63 Tre’ Jackson, No. 64 Chris Barker, No. 65 Jordan Devey, No. 66 Bryan Stork and No. 67 Josh Kline.