FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots’ first three draftees all play on the defensive side of the ball. They completed Day 2 by selecting Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom with the 97th pick Friday night.
The Patriots chose DT Malcom Brown from Texas at the end of the first round and DB Jordan Richards from Stanford at the end of the second round.
Grissom is listed at 6 feet 3⅜ inches and 262 pounds, and is another versatile player, having played defensive end and outside linebacker for the Sooners, as well as tight end.
“He’s a player that has played a couple of different spots,” Bill Belichick said at his end-of-the-night press conference. “He’s a pretty athletic, versatile guy in Oklahoma’s defense over the last couple of years.”
A four-star recruit out of Hutchinson, Kan., Grissom played 39 games at Oklahoma, with 12 starts. Last fall, he was moved to outside linebacker and played 10 games (seven starts), missing the final three games of the season because of a sprained MCL.
Grissom was credited with 39 total tackles (27 solo), 6½ tackles for loss, 3½ sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, an interception, and 4 pass break-ups.
In 2013, Grissom was at defensive end and had 40 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 4½ sacks in 13 games. During his redshirt sophomore year, in 2012, the Sooners tried him at tight end.
Belichick noted that part of Grissom changing positions was a change in defensive coordinators.
“When Mike Stoops came back, his 3-4 defense, they didn’t have enough depth there at defensive end, so he played 4-technique [at] 260 pounds, so he was way undersized, but he competed well, they didn’t knock him off the line of scrimmage. You wouldn’t think he was that light if you didn’t know it, not by the way he played. He has good playing strength.
“This year, it looked like they had more depth on the defensive line, they moved him to outside linebacker, so both last year and this year on third down he played and then bumped inside to an inside rusher position. He was productive there.”
Belichick added Grissom is “very instinctive” as a pass rusher.
Grissom worked out as a linebacker and tight end at Oklahoma’s Pro Day, anything to help him get a chance in the NFL. Belichick said his workout at tight end was as good as any player they saw at that position this year.
The Patriots traded their natural third-round pick, 96th overall, to Cleveland, but could not trade No. 97 because it was a compensatory pick the team received when Aqib Talib signed a free agent deal with Denver last year.