Heading into his fifth year as a Miami Dolphin, Jakeem Grant continues to be insistent that he is ready to hit the ground running as far more than a punt returner. His size and injury history have hindered him in the past, but on Tuesday morning, he posted the following video on Twitter:
“Being Just A RETURNER Days are OVER!!! I AM A RECEIVER!” his caption reads.
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Don’t Sleep on Jakeem Grant Yet
Selected by the Dolphins in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Grant made his presence known with the team in Week 5 of his rookie year with his first career touchdown—a 74-yard punt return against the Tennessee Titans. Four touchdowns in four years may not make him the most memorable name on the squad, as he’s spent most of his career on special teams. But given more opportunity as a receiver, Grant might be due for a breakout year if his body can handle it.
Over four years, Grant has missed 12 games while tending to injuries. He first hurt his Achilles in Week 10 of the 2018 season, but was signed to an additional four years with the team the following August nonetheless. In late November of last year, he was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain.
Grant’s all-purpose yardage has decreased each year since his debut in the NFL, but for the receptions he’s had, it’s clear that Grant has the potential to light up. In his 13 receptions in the last three years, he’s had 203 yards, averaging to 15.6 yards per catch. Starting means very little, though he has only played in the first series of four games. And while the Dolphins don’t seem to have questioned his worth, the Texas Tech grad is ready to take on more responsibility.
The Year Ahead
Grant is a valuable slot receiver, and might also be a great feature player in the backfield. He is not currently situated on the Dolphins official depth chart, which hints at a potential position upgrade. But certainly, if Grant goes as seldom used as he has in the past, the Dolphins would be wasting his talent.
It will be on head coach Brian Flores to figure out the best way to use Grant. An argument could be made for disorganization last season, but Grant is far from hitting his ceiling. And whether that means more time in the return game or catching bullets in the slot, he has a unique opportunity as one of the hardest-working players on the team. The speed attached to that 5’7″, 171-pound frame cannot be ignored.
In the preseason, Grant will make his case, likely catching balls from quarterback Josh Rosen, who will also be trying to prove himself as an asset before potentially hitting the trading block. Grant will likely be seen less sparingly in those first four weeks of exhibition games, and have the opportunity to show off the work that he’s consistently posted online. A lot can change from a workout, to practice, to game action, but in one way has Grant remained consistent since his parlay into the NFL—sharing with the world that he’s ready for more.