For those of you who haven’t watched much Atlanta Falcons football over the past few seasons and need to get acquainted with the Dolphins’ newest free agent acquisition, here is a highlight clip that showcases Brent Grimes’ playmaking ability:
As you can see, Grimes is a freak athlete with the ball hawking skills this Miami defense has been lacking over the past several seasons. His combined 11 interceptions in the 2009 and 2010 seasons make that quite apparent. After all, the Dolphins only managed 16 takeaways as an entire team last year, including 10 interceptions (27th in the NFL).
But Grimes’ is far from just a playmaker. Oftentimes, corners are judged exclusively on how many interceptions they accumulate. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. There are lockdown cover guys who don’t get tested enough to make many plays on the ball. And there are aggressive corners with quality ball skills that rack up a decent amount of picks, but get beat in coverage frequently.
Despite only one interception in 2011, which was Grimes’ last healthy season, he was quietly turning into one of league’s top shutdown corners. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, Grimes allowed only 0.58 yards per cover snap. That was good enough for 1st in the entire NFL for cornerbacks with at least 200 cover snaps.
Of course, it is still unknown if the Dolphins will be getting the same player. Achilles injuries can be difficult to come back from. Especially, for a small corner like Grimes, who relies so much on quickness and leaping ability. But if Grimes can return to 100% or at least close to it, the Dolphins have certainly upgraded a position of need.
At 5-10, 183 pounds, Grimes is a bit undersized. But his quickness and athletic ability give him the tools to excel in a zone coverage scheme. With the Dolphins expected to play more zone in 2013, Grimes appears to be a great fit with some risk but plenty of upside.