Ever since Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant created a couple highlights for himself during the 2017 season, fans have been intrigued by his big-play ability and have been clamoring for more.
Grant showed off his speed against the New England Patriots during the Dolphins Week 14 matchup at Hard Rock Stadium — burning Patriots star cornerback Malcolm Butler for a 25-yard touchdown, and flashed it again for a 65-yard touchdown catch off a screen pass versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16.
Fans may have their wish as buzz has surrounded the wide receiver this offseason, his improvements, and his speed.
But how much will Jakeem Grant be involved?
Since the time of the Scouting Combine this offseason, the Dolphins attitude towards the use of Grant has gone from “well, we feel like he can only handle a certain amount of work” to “we need to find a way to get this guy in with the starters”.
“Just the potential that he has as a playmaker, I think he has done a really good job continuing to grow that way,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains back in June. “You keep expanding his route tree. He’s short in stature, but he does not think he’s short. He does not play short. He plays like a big person. His mindset is that and he’s had a really good camp so far.”
Loggains believes Grant has the ability to be versatile on the field by lining up in the slot, wide, and even in the backfield at times. But still needs room for improvement.
“We just need consistency. He needs reps and to keep working. He’s doing a really good job with every opportunity he’s been given so far.”
And Grant has been working.
Fellow wide receiver DeVante Parker has been impressed by Grant’s growth.
“I’ve seen a lot from Jakeem,” Parker said. “He’s been very aggressive this offseason and just attacking the ball and everything. (He’s) high-pointing everything. He learned all these different positions and he’s doing a great job.”
So far, it sounds like Grant has been doing all the things the coaches have asked him to do: working hard, playing big, learning all the receiving positions–and his opportunities and involvement in practice have grown because of it.
And he’s been making the most of his opportunities, even if it’s not with the starting lineup or quarterback. Grant has been connecting with backup quarterback David Fales during this time.
Head Coach Adam Gase spoke of a play in one of the team’s recent practices when Fales recognized the safety coverage and pulled the trigger for a deep touchdown.
“[Fales] did a good job of really taking the alert on that one and saw the safety bite down on it and went over the top. Those two guys have been hooking up all spring. It’s really probably one of like five of those that those two guys have hit down the field.”
Gase went on to say that when training camp arrives, Grant will get more time with Ryan Tannehill and the starters.
But Grant will have an uphill battle to climb as the wide receiving unit is very crowded for the Dolphins. He will have to share reps with some of the newcomers and returning players who will all need to develop chemistry with returning quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Wideouts Parker and Kenny Stills are presumed starters on the outside. Free agent slot additions Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola need their reps and to learn the new system’s terminology. 2nd-year player Isaiah Ford is coming back from injury and will need to get back in the groove of things.
Right now, it looks like Grant’s involvement is looking to expand, but with all the traffic ahead of him, he’ll likely retain a limited role in the offense.
Miami Dolphins training camp begins on July 26, and will offer a chance for fans to see if the speedy Grant cracks the starting lineup in it’s first practice.