New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick might have a trick up his sleeve in signing undrafted rookie free agent tight end/defensive end Rashod Berry.
At the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft that took place at the end of last month, the New England Patriots signed former Ohio State defensive end and tight end, Rashod Berry, through undrafted free agency.
Berry — 6’4, 255 lbs — started his college career as a defensive end but eventually switched positions to the offensive side of the ball, where he played tight end for the next three years of his collegiate career.
It’s hard to determine where and how the Patriots intend on using Berry this season, but Bill Belichick is obviously intrigued by the versatility and athleticism that Berry brings to the team. It’s also intriguing that he has experience playing on both sides of the ball while playing in the Big-Ten.
It’s worth mentioning that the Ohio State offense is not catered to its tight ends — meaning that Berry didn’t see many targets and was used in more of a utility type of role providing extra run and pass blocking. But from what we did see, Berry is quick, strong, and doesn’t stop blocking until the play is over.
While Berry only saw action in five games and made seven tackles as a defensive end during his freshman year in 2016, he appeared in 12 games at tight end throughout the next three years for the Buckeyes and made 17 receptions while producing 198 yards and scoring four touchdowns.
Berry uses his long and strong arms to his advantage by throwing incoming corners and linebackers out of the way. He’s also been utilized as a fullback (or H-back), as well as being spread out off the line of scrimmage in a slot-type of position in certain formations.
If used as a tight end, Berry has the capability of providing added run protection — which he might be the best at doing from all of the current Patriots tight ends on the roster.
Belichick has a knack for bringing in talented players to his team and utilizing them in ways that others might not expect. Despite Berry being signed as an undrafted tight end, if Belichick finds more value in him on defense, then there is a strong chance that he starts his NFL career on defense (similar to his career in college).
What makes the projection of Berry unpredictable is that the Patriots added depth to the positions by drafting two linebackers — Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings — in the second round, and two tight ends — Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene — in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Perhaps Berry and the Patriots had a conversation about how they plan on using him this upcoming season. In the moments after Berry was signed by New England, he changed his Twitter bio to read “OLB @ New England Patriots,” but he has since changed it to only read “New England Patriots.”
Before I came across his Twitter account, I was under the assumption of Berry joining Asiasi and Keene as the new young athletic trio of tight ends in New England. It also brings up the point that Berry hasn’t played defense since his freshman year … and yet he still changed his bio to read outside linebacker until it was changed again.
This could be one of Bill Belichick’s greatest experiments with a player that we have seen on the New England Patriots.