Brian Blanco/Associated Press
Starter: Brent Grimes
Backups: Jamar Taylor, Jalil Brown
Brent Grimes had a tremendous 2013 season for the Miami Dolphins, proving he was fully recovered from a torn Achilles tendon in 2012. The Dolphins’ defensive MVP figuratively bet on himself by signing a one-year contract with the team after suffering the injury, knowing that if he played well, the team would reward him.
One year later, the Dolphins signed Grimes to a four-year, $32 million deal.
Grimes is a perfect fit in the Dolphins’ off-man and zone scheme, as he has tremendous foot speed, recognition ability and ball awareness. Despite his 5’10”, 180-pound frame facing much larger receivers each week, Grimes didn’t allow a receiving touchdown all season.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle might not get the same type of production out of Grimes as he did in 2013, but that is only because Grimes was that impressive. Opposing quarterbacks completed 60.2 percent of passes thrown toward him, but that produced a meager 66.3 rating. That was good enough for second in the NFL, according to PFF (subscription required).
Despite being beaten multiple times on deep routes by receiver Mike Wallace in June’s OTAs, Grimes is expected to shine again in 2014. His job will be more difficult this year than last because the quality of opposing No. 1 receivers in the division has increased. The New York Jets signed Eric Decker and the Buffalo Bills selected Sammy Watkins in the first round of the draft. For this defense to be successful, Grimes will have to be as reliable as he was last season.
Jamar Taylor enters training camp as the third outside cornerback, which is notably different than the slot cornerback. As an outside cornerback, Taylor is an excellent fit for Coyle’s scheme. At 5’11” and 195 pounds, Taylor has decent length but great fluidity in his movements. He’s been getting snaps as the backup slot in addition to work outside, according to The Sun Sentinel’s Omar Kelly, likely in case of injury.
Taylor was limited to just 45 snaps in 2013 due to a predraft kidney ailment and subsequent sports hernia surgery. But he’s confident in his health and on-field abilities as he enters his second year, according to James Walker of ESPN.com.
"I have high expectations of myself,” Taylor said. “I can't really worry about what everyone else thinks, as long as I get the respect of my teammates, my coaches and myself."
Head coach Joe Philbin said Taylor and Will Davis will have every chance to start, but they’ll have to prove themselves during training camp and preseason.
If he can continue the positive momentum built in minicamp, where he intercepted a pass when lined up as a starter, the Dolphins might have no choice but to elevate him on the depth chart.
Jalil Brown was signed after only seeing five snaps in 2013 with the Indianapolis Colts. He played a total of 371 snaps as an outside cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, but he was rated poorly by PFF with a -6.1 grade in pass coverage. He flashed the ability to make an occasional interception in OTAs, but he was also beaten multiple times for touchdowns. Unless an injury occurs or Brown starts to improve, he’s at risk to be cut after training camp.