Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes has plenty of experience defending the NFL’s best wide receivers, but one sticks out above the rest.
Last season alone, he matched up with Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions), Jordy Nelson (Green Bay Packers), Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears) and Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos). The year prior, Grimes was opposite Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons), A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals) and Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers).
According to ESPN’s James Walker, though, Grimes believes Megatron is the most difficult assignment in the league.
I would say Calvin Johnson because of size. He’s huge. He’s like an NBA small forward playing NFL receiver, and he still has the ability to run routes. But there’s a few of them that’s really good. I like Julio a lot. But Calvin Johnson is just huge, and that combined with his athletic ability presents a lot of problems.
In 2014, Grimes came up on the short end—literally—of one terrific catch by Johnson, who essentially boxed out the Miami cornerback and pulled down the ball for a Lions touchdown.
Fortunately for Grimes, he’s not exactly an easy matchup for receivers, either. Johnson also has first-hand experience with Grimes’ excellence on the field.
Grimes has been an outstanding piece on the Miami defense that should only improve in 2015. The franchise signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and he joins Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon on what figures to be one of the league’s best lines.
That pressure up front will help Grimes—who has nabbed nine interceptions over the last two seasons—deal with two more elite receivers this year in Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys) and Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants).