The Miami Dolphins have gone to great lengths to upgrade the level of talent on their roster this offseason. From a free agency signing spree to surprise moves at the 2013 NFL Draft, the Dolphins have strengthened every position that was seen as a weakness in 2012.
One area that has demanded special attention from the front office is in the defensive secondary, and the biggest move the Dolphins made was the signing of Brent Grimes.
Signing the former Atlanta Falcons cornerback was not the easiest decision Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland made this offseason. Grimes spent nearly all of the 2012 season on the shelf with a torn Achilles tendon. It is one of the worst injuries a professional athlete can suffer, and while all of the doctor’s reports were encouraging, signing Grimes was still a gamble.
Despite being listed as a 5-foot-10 corner (if he is even that), Grimes has natural instincts and ball skills that made him Pro Football Focus’s 10th-best corner in 2010, and the third-best overall in 2011. His other talents have always made up for the size he gives up against taller receivers, but with a blown Achilles, Ireland had no way of knowing if Grimes could still be the shutdown type of player the Dolphins need him to be.
After giving up an average of 248.4 yards a game last year, the Dolphins are desperately hoping they can successfully revamp the defensive secondary. There were only five teams that gave up more yards through the air in 2012, and if the Dolphins hope to turn that number around, it is going to have to start with Grimes.
So far, it looks as though Ireland got it right. The reports coming out of the Dolphins’ OTA’s describe Grimes as being quick, decisive and in complete control, even running step-for-step with Mike Wallace, one of the speediest guys in the entire NFL.
The best part of Grimes performance has to be the fact that his Achilles is still not completely healed. If the Dolphins’ new corner is able to perform at an even higher level once he is 100 percent, then not only did Ireland’s gamble pay off, but when added with some of his other free agent acquisitions, the GM with “Fireland” for a nickname will look like the front runner for General Manager of the Year.
Jeff Everette covers the NFL, specifically the Miami Dolphins, for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jeverettesports, “like” his page on Facebook, “Trust” him on Sulia, or join his circles on Google+.