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Bill Belichick thinks Patriots EDGE Geneo Grissom “made a jump,” can emerge in third season

The Patriots pass rusher has a chance to take on a big role in 2017.

New England Patriots EDGE Geneo Grissom is a forgotten man on the depth chart as he enters his third season in the league. Grissom was the Patriots third round selection out of Oklahoma in the 2015 draft, but he ranked behind Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, and Jabaal Sheard in the depth chart for 2015 and wound up on the practice squad in 2016.

Grissom toiled away in practice until he received the promotion back to the active roster, but he remained behind Ninkovich, Sheard, fellow 2015-draftee Trey Flowers, and veteran Chris Long. But Grissom proved his value on special teams and carved out a nice role on the team.

For 2017, Grissom is hoping to make more of an impact on defense and he’s tried to improve his defensive versatility.

“[Versatility is] something that Geneo’s worked really hard on this year in the spring and in training camp,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said on Monday morning. “We’ve used him inside as a rusher, used him outside. He’s got some versatility. He can fill in at some different spots for us depending on where we need him, even some linebacker responsibilities.

“So, he definitely understands how valuable that is to our team and our defense to be able to combine those defensive roles with the kicking game and multiple roles on defense. He’s worked hard at that, and I think he made a jump this year, just really understanding, now that he solidified his special teams role last year, understanding how he can move to the next step defensively.

“And Joe [Judge] and Bubba [Ray Ventrone] have both done a good job on that, as well, kind of in practice and meetings and so forth being able to allocate the time so he can be most efficient with the multiple responsibilities that are part of his job, part of his role.”

Grissom may not be the best player at any position, but his skill on special teams and his ability to back-up multiple positions on defense could make him an economical choice for the final roster, especially with roster spots in such great demand. And if Belichick is right in that Grissom has “made a jump this year,” then perhaps he could be a regular part of the defensive rotation.

There won’t be a better time for Grissom to make a case for more time than in 2017 as rookies Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise Jr. deal with injuries, leaving a huge gap in the depth chart.

Unfortunately for Grissom, he was unable to take advantage of his circumstance in week 2 of the preseason against the Houston Texans as he was also unable to play. Grissom will have two more weeks in the preseason to push his way up the depth chart and become the player that Belichick described as a more versatile Ninkovich immediately after the 2015 draft.