Miami Dolphins training camp is coming up and the main focus for now is on the Special Teams.
Dolphins 2016 Special Teams preview: Jakeem Grant
A WR out of Texas Tech from 2012-2015 who stands 5-6 weighing 165 lbs, he accumulated 3286 yards on 254 receptions averaging 12.9 yards with 27 touchdowns. He also ran for 199 yards on 33 carries averaging 6 yards with 2 touchdowns. Jakeem also had kick return duties were he had 2169 yards on 87 returns averaging 24.9 yards with 4 touchdowns. He is small in stature and would become the smallest in height ever to play should he make the field as a WR, there are already comparisons to Julian Edelman with his abilities and speed.
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He will replace Jarvis Landry who had the top rating from profootballfocus.com last season as a kick returner, Jakeem has a projected 2nd overall best kick returner from PFF from this 2016 draft class.
"“Reports out of Miami’s offseason practices are that Grant — the sixth-round rookie out of Texas Tech — is favorited to be both the primary punt and kick returner in 2016. Grant didn’t return punts in college but graded as the second-best kick returner in the 2016 draft class. This would be a good move to get Grant more touches as his role on offense will most likely be limited with Jarvis Landry locking down the slot position.” via profootballfocus.com"
There has been some speculation as to how well Jakeem is picking up his new punt return duties (he only had kick off duties in the past). According to his own admissions he is doing quite well, this has also been backed up by his Special teams coach Darren Rizzi
"“Jakeem Grant, an accomplished kickoff returner at Texas Tech, never returned a punt in college but said he’s quickly getting the hang of it. And special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi agreed during a recent media session.Grant said he has fielded “over 1000 punts” since the start of the offseason program (though that sounds awfully high) and that he has dropped only two “because I took my eyes off it.”Said Grant: “I didn’t do it at Texas Tech but I’m very comfortable doing it. I love being back there, just taking it and going.” via Barry Jackson miamiherald"
This was his best year of his four-year tenure at Texas Tech, career-highs in every category 90 receptions for 1,268 yards and 10 touchdowns averaging 14.1 yards per reception. He also had 1017 yards returning kicks with 2 touchdowns. His 90 receptions were the most in the Big 12 for 2015 as was his 39 kick off returns.
2015 was Jakeem Grant’s swan song, just getting better every year even throwing his only pass that went for a touchdown also making 2 tackles and an assist. To do all this with his statue shows durability, he has played over ten games every season while avoiding injury that would negate this.
He has done well so far, drawing accolades from his peers and providing sound bites from his press appearances. One of those being “you can’t hit what you can’t catch” (meaning his speed on the field) Coach Gase has stated that he tends to be too fast boarding on out of control so this is something to work on in training camp.
Overall everything is looking up for him to this point, and things are trending upward. One of the unknowns is how the new rules for kick offs will play into his versatility. He does seem durable even at his stature, while showing improvement as his tenure went along culminating with his best season ever. However the big picture is how College results translate to the pro level, his best season ever at the College level could translate to just an average one in the pros.