In the days leading up to the New England Patriots’ 2015 encounter with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bill Belichick discussed a defensive lineman he’d encountered eight times before then.
“He's a great player, and we had a lot of problems with him in Miami,” Belichick said on a Sept. 23 conference call with Jacksonville media. “I was glad to see him leave the division.”
Odrick, who was a first-team All-American and Big Ten defensive player of the year while at Penn State, entered the league with the Dolphins at No. 28 overall in the 2010 draft. Thenceforth, he’d spend his first five NFL campaigns in the AFC East, notching 11 tackles, two sacks, as well as an interception returned 39 yards versus New England.
Yet, perhaps to the relief of Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, a change of scenery would be in the cards for the 6-foot-5, 298-pound Odrick in March of 2015. It was then that he left the division as an unrestricted free agent and signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract with Jacksonville.
“We only have him once a year now instead of twice this year,” Belichick said before his side met the familiar D-lineman again. “He's very disruptive, and he's given us a lot of problems through the years. He's definitely playing more on the outside at end than in Miami. They used him primarily inside. Miami had their edge guys – [Cameron] Wake and Koa Misi and [Dion] Jordan and those guys outside. They used him more inside.”
Aligning primarily on the edge, Odrick would register two tackles in what ended up being a 51-17 loss to the Patriots two Septembers ago.
His time with the Jaguars would end up lasting only two seasons.
Odrick’s second and final one with the club consisted of 12 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble, as the 29-year-old played 64 percent of the defense’s snaps over his six appearances before being sent to injured reserve with an elbow injury in December.
Odrick would ultimately released this February as Jacksonville freed $8.5 million cap space. In addition to a $2 million roster bonus, the Jaguars’ third highest-paid player was set to be guaranteed $5.5 million of his $6.5 million base salary by March 13.
Though now, 87 games, 63 starts, 170 tackles, 23 sacks, 15 passes defended, a pick and five forced fumbles into his career, Odrick is set to find a new destination. And New England is a potential suitor.
First Coast News’ Mike Kaye reported Tuesday that Odrick visited the Patriots this week and passed a physical.
It remains to be seen whether a roster transaction will follow before the new league year begins. It also remains to be seen whether the seven-year veteran is the same player he was when the Patriots last faced him. But Belichick’s sentiment, albeit dated, provides some structure to what the New England may see – or saw – in Odrick when healthy.
An athletic, two-dimensional presence up and down the line.
“He's effective. He's long, he's got good quickness, he's got a lot of power. He does a good job outside,” Belichick added. “He's very hard to block out there to try to run out in the C-gap and that off-tackle area with him. It's hard. He's a very difficult guy to handle.”