The New England Patriots have a deeper defensive end depth chart than they have had in previous years. On Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, its quality might get tested during the Patriots' battle for the AFC's number one playoff seed. Starters Chandler Jones (abdomen, toe) and Rob Ninkovich (shin) are both battling injuries and, given the fact that New England has already locked up a first-round bye next week, might see a limited workload in two days.
Naturally, someone else would have to step up when/if the two are not on the field. The first choice, obviously, would be Jabaal Sheard, who is the number three in the Patriots' defensive end rotation and has recorded 8.0 sacks in his first year in Foxboro thus far. But, if both Jones and Ninkovich were on a limited snap count, Sheard would need help to replace them as someone else would have to step up.
That someone might be Geneo Grissom.
The rookie has played in 14 games this season and saw most of his time on special teams. On defense, he registered a mere two tackles - but might be asked to do more on Sunday. At 6'4 and 270 lbs, the 23-year old has the physical tools to play the edge defender position, but given the quality of the trio ahead of him on the depth chart has not seen a lot of chances to showcase them.
That might change in Miami. Against the Dolphins, Grissom might possibly see his only meaningful defensive snaps this year. Hopefully, he is able to make the best of them, to lay a foundation upon which to build over the course of 2016.