Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Mighty Mouse expecting mighty 2020

You might not think Mighty mouse is the ideal nickname for an NFL player, but Jakeem Grant personifies it perfectly. The Miami Dolphins receiver, taken with the 186th pick of the 2016 NFL draft, stands just 5’7″ tall and weighs in at 171 pounds. It’s not big, but size has never stopped this mighty mouse.

As the fastest player at the 2016 NFL combine, his speed should’ve seen him go much higher, but scouts had him pegged as a return specialist. His college highlight reel was, again something that NFL teams really should’ve taken notice of.

Jakeem Grant finds himself in Miami

Landing with the Miami Dolphins, Grant did indeed find himself pegged as an outsider just looking to make the roster registering just one single target the whole season despite suiting up for all 16 games.

Mighty mouse was not to be deterred though and kept at it, finally making his first catch against the Jets in New York in week two of the 2017 season. Used on primarily on short routes, in an uber-conservative Adam Gase style, Grant was held to 13 catches on 22 targets, for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns.

With a staggering 150 of his 203 yards coming after the catch, Jakeem Grant had finally got a chance to show what he was capable of with the ball in his hand in 2017. With the return of Ryan Tannehill at QB in 2018, the Miami Dolphins were expecting more of the same from Mighty Mouse.

Jakeem Grant was looking to unleash Mighty Mouse in 2018 © Miami Dolphins
Jakeem Grant was looking to unleash Mighty Mouse in 2018 © Miami Dolphins

Once again Adam Gase’s offensive style put Jakeem Grant in a good spot to succeed, at the same time as making it hard for him. As Gase continued to refuse to stretch the field, defenses continued to play up against the Dolphins limiting room for Grant to manoeuver.

Despite the issues, Grant again excelled after the catch. With 21 receptions for 268 yards and another 2 touchdowns, Mighty Mouse averaged 6.8 yards after catches. For the second season in a row PFF rated Jakeem Grant in the seventies (70.7 in 2017, 70.5 in 2018).

However, Grant showed signs of wear and tear in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, managing just 10 games in each. His big-play ability was curtailed by his lack of field time, and he had suffered from the pounding he took over the middle of the field in Gase’s brutal grinding offense.

With the 2019 season a struggle all around for the Miami Dolphins, they cut Jakeem Grant’s season short, sending him to IR in November with a high-ankle sprain. While it may not have been essential for Mighty Mouse to sit the end of the season, it gave him a chance to heal fully before the 2020 season.

Jakeem Grant goes up high for the catch against the Falcons
Jakeem Grant goes up high for the catch against the Falcons

2020: Here comes the Mighty Mouse

So as we approach the 2020 season, what chances Jakeem Grant finally makes his breakout? With coach Flores opening up the offense more in 2019 than Adam Gase had in previous years, the Miami Dolphins offense should be more dynamic this year.

New offensive coordinator Chan Gailey likes to use the spread offense, and both incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick, and number five pick Tua Tagovailoa like to get the ball out of their hands and down the field quickly.

All of these things should help unleash Jakeem Grant in 2020. As for the man himself, he’s taken to Twitter to announce his intentions “Held back last year but NOT THIS YEAR!!! I am a RECEIVER”

I for one am rooting for the former Texas Tech Red Raider. He has the speed, quick feet, and vision to take every catch to the house. With just 6 drops in his NFL career, he has very good hands, and a full 60.6% of his yards have come after the catch.

Get this guy the ball in the open field and you’ll see why Jakeem Grant is a player every defense should be scared of. This is a prove-it year for Mighty Mouse and one he is clearly relishing the chance of.

With a more cohesive, aggressive offensive unit this is the year the Miami Dolphins, and the NFL have been waiting for. Jakeem Grant looks scary good in offseason workouts, and here’s hoping it translates to the field in 2019.

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