Geneo Grissom seems to have found a home at outside linebacker, delivering 39 tackles with 3.5 sacks, 6.5 stops-for-loss, two forced fumbles and a 38-yard interception return at the right side position through ten games, but he missed his last three games on the 2014 schedule when he suffered a right knee MCL sprain vs. Texas A&M. One interesting recent news is that during Oklahoma’s March 2015 Pro Day, the former tight end performed in drills at that position for teams in attendance.
Grissom has grown two inches and gained 25 pounds of muscle since the four-star recruit joined the program. It took two years for the right end to earn a starting job, making up for lost time with 40 tackles, four sacks, eight stops-for-loss, four pass break-ups and an interception in 2013.
He was suspended briefly for a team rules violation in 2012, with whispers being he was not pleased with the coach’s decision to move him to tight end that season (later proven to be untrue, as he actually volunteered for the assignment). He is no longer considered a classic 4-3 end, with several scouts feeling he’s proven enough to be an effective outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Grissom is a determined edge rusher with good speed for this position, showing the fluid and flexible moves sliding down the line or when dropping back in pass coverage. He plays at a low pad level and has good play recognition skills, generating a good surge to consistently split double coverage, using his hands effectively to disengage. He does a good job knifing into the backfield, displaying a strong hand punch and proper technique dipping his shoulder inside.
The Sooner cuts through traffic to chase ball carriers down in the backfield. He looks fluid redirecting to give chase and make plays working down the line of scrimmage. He snaps his hips sharply and extends his arms to wrap and jolt the opponent in run force, keeping his pads down to hit and wrap securely.
His burst off the line is evident by his urgency slipping off blocks to close and collapse the pocket. His hands and upper body strength help him gain leverage, but he is more effective on the move than when working in-line. He has the nimble feet and takes good angles to keep containment vs. the outside run and his loose hips let him get back to the cutback lanes.
Scouts feel he might be better suited to play in a 3-4 defensive alignment, as he has the quickness to drop back as an outside linebacker and the strength to stack and control the perimeter blockers. Another reason for a potential permanent move to linebacker is the way he uses his speed to mirror the tight end running down the seams.
While Grissom is not really much of a bull rusher, he will not hesitate to stick his hat into the pile. Last season, prior to being injured, he was showing marked improvement delivering the up field shoulder in attempts to flatten and get to the quarterback. Yes, he’s a bit of an overachiever and can get out of control when pursuing a quarterback, but if given a clean path to the ball, he will do whatever it takes to make the play. He is the type that won’t be your best lineman, but he will create a spark on the line.
In a brief evaluation from what was viewed on 2015 Pro Day and from his work during the 2012 season as a tight end, Grissom demonstrates that he is capable of generating a smooth release, showing good initial quickness off the snap and into his routes. He is not real effective running deep, but shows the ability to work through and around traffic in the short area. He has an effective in-stride to separate and shows awareness in his routes, making good adjustments on the move.
Grissom has good quickness off the line to get into his blocks, but is still a work in progress in that area, as he sometimes will lead with his head, causing him to fall off blocks. He does not show much knee lift and his tall frame could pose problems for him in attempts to get low in his pads and attack the middle of the line as a lead blocker, though.
Grissom runs at a good pad level, showing enough forward body-lean to gain positive yardage after the initial hit. He is fluid redirecting and going in motion, but will gather himself a bit in order to reach top speed. He is best blocking on the edge, where he can get a wide base and extend his arms to sustain. In limited chances blocking in-line, his height poses a bit of a problem, as he can get push back by the low tackles.
Geneo Grissom Scouting Combine measurables
6-3/262 (4.73 forty)
33 3/8-inch arm length
10 1/4-inch hands
37-inch vertical jump
117-inch broad jump
7.24 3 cone drill
4.38 20 yard shuttle
12.44 60 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
SCOUT.COM DRAFT RANKINGS
Position: QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C DT DE OLB MLB S CB K P LS