Of the few bright spots on the Miami Dolphins this season, Jevon Holland could be the brightest. And could also be a multi-time Pro Bowler.
What Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins front office knew when they selected Jevon Holland in the 2021 NFL Draft, the rest of the football world is beginning to see.
Holland was a highly-touted prospect out of Oregon, and was the first safety off of the board when the Dolphins selected him with an early-second round pick. After a somewhat quiet start to the season, the rookie is starting to make a name for himself while shoring up Miami’s defensive backfield.
Through the first four games of the 2021 campaign, Holland was playing an average of 46 percent of the defensive snaps, splitting time mostly with Jason McCourty. But since Week 5, the rookie has played more than 97 percent of defensive snaps in every game, including four games at 100 percent. It seems that these numbers began to rise as soon as the coaching staff figured out exactly how to use him.
The defense that failed to live up to expectations seems to have found something in the safety blitz. Holland and second-year safety Brandon Jones rank numbers 1 and 2 in the entire league when it comes to QB pressures, which was on full display on Thursday night during Holland’s nationally televised coming out party.
In a game in which the story was Miami’s defense shutting down one of the most dynamic offenses in the entire league, Jevon Holland was perhaps the most important player on the field. The Dolphins defense was mostly effective in stifling Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, as he was under constant pressure thanks in large part to the defensive backs. Holland and Jones blitzed a combined 38 times as the Dolphins set a Next Gen Stats record for the most defensive back blitzes in a game since the stat started being counted in 2016.
This led to big plays for Holland, as he was able to record a sack on Jackson as well as force him in to difficult plays with unrelenting pressures. But his presence was felt similarly in the defensive backfield as well. The rookie set the tone early with a big hit on Devin Duvernay during the Ravens’ first drive, and was a noticeable ball hawk for the rest of the game.
Holland wound up recording five total tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, and two pass break-ups in an unlikely Dolphins victory. He couldn’t have picked a better time for his breakout, in a prime time Thursday night game with everyone watching. While the rest of the secondary (and their contracts) will likely need to be addressed during the upcoming off season, it looks as though the Miami Dolphins have their safety situation figured out, with Holland being the crown jewel.
So what can we expect from him going forward? If he is this talented and this much of a difference maker just halfway through his rookie season, then there is no reason to believe that Holland can’t be a multiple-time Pro Bowler, and perhaps even an All-Pro some day.
Regardless of how the season turns out for Miami, Holland will be one of the focal points for the remaining seven games.