Don’t be so fast to typecast Miami Dolphins’ Jakeem Grant as only a track guy in cleats

Dolphins receiver Jakeem Grant breaks a tackle by inside linebacker Reggie Ragland of the Chiefs en route to a 65-yard touchdown in December. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Note: This continues a series in Daily Dolphin spotlighting members of the team individually. In addition to reliving highlights and lowlights of the past season for each, we’ll provide analysis and criticism, plus take a look at how each player fits — or doesn’t fit — into the team’s plans for 2018.)

WR Jakeem Grant

Height, weight: 5-7, 169

College: Texas Tech

Age: 25

Experience: Entering third season, all with Dolphins

Acquired: Drafted by Dolphins in sixth round in 2016

Contract: Due to earn $665,095 in 2018, with contract to expire after 2019 season

Pro Football Focus rank: Unranked

In 2017

Stats: Returned 25 punts for 7.6 average; returned 31 kickoffs for 22.8 average; caught 13 passes for 203 yards (15.6 average) and two TDs

Notable moments: Recorded first career reception vs. Jets in September. … Had two good days vs. the Patriots, averaging 24.3 yards on kickoff returns in first meeting, then scoring his first career TD on a 25-yard catch in the rematch. … Caught four passes for 107 yards and a TD at K.C.

Straight talk: After a rookie season in which Grant didn’t catch a pass, it was tempting to wonder if the blazing speed he possesses was just a tease — if he was more suited to running on a track than a football field. Doubly so because of his size. 

And then something special happened just before halftime at Kansas City. Grant caught a screen pass from Jay Cutler. Grant was quickly surrounded by three Chiefs, which actually was the least of his concerns. Bearing down on the smallest Dolphin from 2 yards away was a fourth defender, safety Ron Parker, who’s 6-feet and 206. No problem. Grant lowered his shoulder and ran through Parker. Only after having showed off power we didn’t know he had, Grant then accelerated into high gear, cruising the final 40 yards for a 65-yard score.

“Didn’t think I was going to run him over, but I ended up doing it,” Grant said. “When he fell off, it was easy running.”

Keep in mind that also in December, Grant went up over former Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler, who’s 5-11, for his 25-yard TD.

“I just made a great play,” said Grant, who’s never short on confidence. “I used my ability, which people don’t know, being a short guy, I can jump. I can dunk a basketball.”

Bottom line: “I’m just a big guy stuck in a little guy’s body.”

Prospects for 2018

It would be crazy to say everything from here on will be easy for Grant. It’s premature to say he has arrived in this league. But it’s not jumping the gun to say now that Jarvis Landry is gone and the receiving corps is being reconfigured, Grant will have more opportunities than ever to show what a little seasoning can do.

“Jakeem got some opportunities this year and made the most of them,” coach Adam Gase said. “We had high expectations going in, especially after training camp, that we felt like there was going to be a little bit of a jump there.”

Interestingly, Gase said Grant “lost a little juice” around midseason after getting “beat up” on returns, which makes his late-season performances even more meaningful.

With Landry in Cleveland and Kenyan Drake the starting running back, Grant will be heavily relied upon as a return man, but he wants to make one thing clear:

“I’m a receiver before I’m a return specialist,” he said.

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Photos: Live from Miami Dolphins OTAs in Davie

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