One of the most exciting parts of training camp every year is getting to see the new rookies on your team. You have spent hours watching game tape and highlight reels of their college careers, now it is time to see what they look like playing against the big dogs.
For the New England Patriots, the only rookie that fans are expecting to shine is first round pick Malcom Brown. The remaining rookies are all question marks. Most first-year players go through a huge transition year, and it is hard for them to truly show their abilities as a rookie. Here are three Patriots rookies that I believe will contribute in 2015.
Geneo Grissom: Drafted at the end of the third round out of Oklahoma, Geneo Grissom has all the physical attributes to be a successful defensive edge player in the National Football League. Bill Belichick praised Grissom the night he drafted him, preaching about his versatility. ” He didn’t play like a linebacker in there. You probably wouldn’t think he’s that light. You wouldn’t know by the way he played.”
Grissom at Oklahoma played predominately as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt. ” He was way undersized at 260 pounds, but he competed well. ” Another compliment from Belichick on draft night. In 2014, Grissom moved to more of an edge outside linebacker role, where you have to think is where he will spend most of his time in New England. With a lack of depth at linebacker, Grissom will have his chances to prove himself in game situations.
Tre Jackson: If any Patriots rookie were to jump right into a starting role this season, fourth round pick Tre Jackson would be a very solid candidate. With Dan Connolly now retired, the Patriots are left without a starting guard next to Ryan Wendell. Veterans like Josh Kline and Jordan Devey most likely won’t get the job done, therefore Jackson may have the best chance at starting.
In 2014, Bryan Stork took over the starting role at center almost immediately. Stork was a teammate of Jackson’s at Florida State playing under offensive line coach Rick Trickett, who has been a long-time friend of the Patriots organization. Tre Jackson is much bigger than Patriots guards of the past. He is a powerful space eater, as opposed to a more nimble player like Ryan Wendell.
Darryl Roberts: The Patriots cornerback depth chart as of right now is paper thin. All players right now are on an equal playing field, which could help seventh round rookie Darryl Roberts. A Marshall product, Roberts is a very athletic and physical corner. He played up on the line in college and loved to get his hands on the receiver. Much like Brandon Browner, it would be to a fault at times.
Roberts has the size to be a pro cornerback at 6-0, 182 pounds. In addition, his pro day numbers were very impressive as he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and a 6.7 three-cone drill. Had he been invited to the combine he would have ranked second among all cornerbacks in those categories.
Roberts like many other cornerbacks, has been labeled as very confident. His self-proclaimed nickname is, “Swagg.” Furthermore, his college defensive coordinator Chuck Heater seems to think that his seventh round selection will give him extra motivation. ” He’s fighting every day. That’s a great attitude to have. It’s an edge.” Many already think that Roberts was passed over too many times in the draft. The analytical powerhouse that is Pro Football Focus had Darryl Roberts as their fourth biggest steal of the draft.
In conclusion, all three of these rookies will have success in some way, shape, or form in 2015, but Darryl Roberts will soar above the rest. Much like Malcolm Butler last season, Roberts will shine during training camp and it will lead to significant game time in the regular season. With game time comes chances to make plays, and when given those chances you can win your team the Super Bowl. Just ask Malcolm Butler.