Defending against slant routes proved to be one of the hardest tasks for the Bucs to accomplish last season, and one of the first steps the team took in fixing it for 2016 was signing corner Brent Grimes in free agency.
When asked about Grimes' athleticism, new Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith didn't hold back.
"Grimes is an extremely good athlete. I'd like to say he's short, but he plays big," Smith said. "He plays much bigger than his measured height, and he's one of the fastest and quickest defensive backs I've ever been around."
Smith is right about Grimes playing taller than his height. His insane vertical jump makes up for the fact that he is only 5'10, and that used in tandem with the excellent hands he possesses allows for inconceivable grabs like this to happen: https://youtu.be/OMKVExVCA-4
Speed isn't even a question when it comes to Grimes' game, especially with his jumping ability more than adequately compensating for his shorter stature. Grimes' reflexive explosiveness off of snaps is a huge advantage he has on the field, and allows him to tightly cover some of the quickest receivers in the league.
Brent's high levels of football instinct also let him read quarterbacks as effectively as some of the best defensive backs in the league, and when added into his diverse cauldron of athletic strengths helps in making for one incredibly lethal corner. This fusion of instinct, speed and jumping ability is rare for a corner of Grimes' size, and is one of the reasons why he has been named to four Pro Bowls so far in his NFL career.
In signing Brent Grimes, the Bucs are getting a reliable player with a wealth of experience. Grimes can reinforce the middle of the field in zone coverage with his excellent tackling skills, while also being able to stick to individual receivers in man more efficiently than a lot of other starting DBs around the league. He's the poster boy for the versatility that GM Jason Licht desires to see in players, and the Bucs are lucky to have him as a key cornerstone of their newly-revamped defense.
Share your opinion with us on twitter...@TBBucsonScout
Listen to our latest podcast here: