The addition of the 6-foot-1, 290-pound defender is a move that flew well under the radar. Originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted rookie out of Louisville, Grady made it to the final round of cuts by Indianapolis. He was then signed to the Patriots practice squad.
Normally, practice squad additions are used on developmental players who may be given a chance to get into the lineup for a game or two later in the year. Grady, an unheralded lineman from the Big East conference understands what it takes to make a team. Though he was very pleased for a chance to be part of the Colts, he knows that fitting into a role on Indianapolis (or any other team) is more important to his success than where he plays.
"I do my job," he told the Colts official website during rookie minicamp. "I'm accountable. I know my role. I've started in the Orange Bowl and I've been on the scout team before. I know my role and I know where I fit in."
Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick, left, is sacked by Louisville Cardinals' Adrian Grady during the Gator Bowl, Jan. 2, 2006 (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
According to NFLDraftScout.com, Grady is a high-motor player who has good initial quickness and burst. He had his breakout year as a senior.
"Grady flashed the ability to make plays throughout his career with the Cardinals. He needed to put together a strong senior campaign to ease scouts' concerns about his lack of durability. In posting career highs in tackles (41), tackles for loss (nine), and sacks (two), Grady accomplished just that. He doesn't bring prototypical size at the point, which means he won't fit every scheme, but for those looking for a high-effort defensive tackle in the late rounds capable of surprising, the former Cardinal could prove to be a diamond in the rough."
Like other teams around the league, the Patriots have a constant focus on practice squad players. Some become active roster contributors early, some grow into contributors down the road, and others end up moving on. Grady has the look of one of those players who could stick around for a while.
Bret Lockett, Dan Connolly and Isaiah Stanback have all spent time on the team's practice squad, then moved up to the active roster. Grady could become one of those players, despite the team already having 7th round pick Darryl Richard (6-4. 290) and former Nebraska standout Titus Adams (6-4, 305) on the 8-man squad.
New England has a common problem, injuries and attrition of their front seven. Former first round pick Ty Warren has been battling an ankle injury, which forced him to be carted off the field in Denver. Jarvis Green had minor surgery to address nagging injuries and has missed every game since the bye (week 9). Richard Seymour was traded to the Raiders and Vince Wilfork is in a contract season that, if left unaddressed, could allow him to find greener pastures elsewhere if the Patriots are unable to sign him to a new deal.
Grady doesn't fit the profile of a defensive end/tackle who can flip between outside and inside like Green and Warren. He also doesn't have the height of Adams or Richard. But his burst and lower center of gravity could be a strength he uses to find a role in the middle of the Patriots new look 4-3 defense.
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