Who is the fastest Dolphins player? The debate is on
here’s a fun-spirited debate going on at Dolphins camp regarding the fastest player on the team. The top candidates include wide receivers Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, and running back Kenyan Drake.
Grant, a 5-foot-7 speedster who also serves as kickoff and punt returner, has a definite opinion on who is the fastest Dolphins player.
“Me, of course,” he said with a big smile. “Hands down. Neither one of them, not Albert, Kenny, neither one of them. No.”
Grant, who had a 74-yard punt return touchdown as a rookie in 2016 and a 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown last year, is even willing to settle the issue.
“Is there a race in the future?” he asked rhetorically. “If you guys want a race, there could be a race.”
The Dolphins could have staged the race Thursday.
Coach Adam Gase surprised his players by giving them the day off, canceling the final day of this week’s three-day manadatory mini-camp.
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The Dolphins have a four-day OTA (organized team activities) session next week and then they’re off until training camp begins in late July.
Gase is amused by the subject of the fastest player — until the possibility of an actual footrace is broached.
“I don’t want them to really do that,” he said with a smile.
(Gase wasn’t here when kicker Caleb Sturgis sustained a leg injury in a team-organized kickball game, but he probably knows of similar mishaps.)
It should be noted there’s also a darkhorse candidate who weighed in with his opinion — wide receiver DeVante Parker, who has six career receptions of 40 or more yards including a 56-yard touchdown reception in 2016.
“I think I’m getting ripped off,” the long-striding Parker said with a smile regarding his omission.
“But it’s fine. It’s alright.”
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The angular Parker thinks he’d finish in the top two in a footrace among wide receivers.
“Probably me and Jakeem,” he said.
“Kenny? He’d be third,” Parker said.
Although the distance of this hypothetical footrace isn’t clear — 40 yards or 100 yards — it turns out the Dolphins do have a way of tracking the fastest player in practice.
They wear GPS tracking devices in their shoulder pads. The devices give the sports science department information on speed and steps taken, among other things.
That information is relayed to players.
“We always do it every single day, to see who’s the fastest and who had the fastest miles per hour in the receivers room,” Grant said.
“I’m always in the top three, so as long as I’m in the top three, I’m good.”
Parker points to this as another reason he should be included.
“The GPS says I was second,” he said. “With the GPS I was at 20.9 miles per hour, and somebody else [had one time] faster than that.”
Stills, who has averaged 16.1 yards per reception in three years with the Dolphins and has touchdowns of 74, 61 and 47 yards, thinks he knows that player.
“I think Malcolm Lewis has the top speed right now out of the receivers,” he said of the former University of Miami standout.
The miles per hour numbers from the GPS devices come with a caveat, however.
“It depends what routes you’re running,” Gase said. “If somebody is running the type of routes where they’re stopping a lot, then they’re not going to get the high miles per hour that they’re looking for.
“Jakeem, it seems like he’s running more ‘go’ routes than everybody, so maybe it might add up after a while. The [GPS] thing goes off the average. Who knows what they’re looking at. [Wide receivers coach] Ben [Johnson] might be making up numbers for all I know.”
Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, who attended Oklahoma State, played against Grant, who attended Texas Tech, in the Big 12.
Grant had a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Cowboys in 2015.
“Playing against Jakeem and seeing what he did to us in the Big 12, he’s a pretty fast guy,” Taylor said, “so I’d probably say him.”
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So it would be Grant, Stills and Drake in the top three?
“And Albert [Wilson],” Taylor said, continuing to muddy the waters. “He’s a pretty fast guy. I’ve seen him run, so he’s pretty fast also.”
Wilson has touchdowns of 63, 55, and 44 yards in his four-year career.
Drake has touchdowns of 45 and 66 yards in his two seasons.
Gase, though not relenting to a footrace, did exhibit mild interest in such an event.
“It would be interesting, though, because there’s some legit speed with those guys,” he said. “I know every one of them will say that they’re the fastest.”
Stills bottom-lined the whole debate by bringing it back to football.
“We’re all on the same team,” he said. “We know we have a lot of speed, and hopefully that puts some fear into some of the defenses we’ll play.”