From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#8 Trevon Grimes/ WR / Florida – 6’4, 220lb
-Has acceptable speed (4.49 40), being a long strider that builds up speed as he progresses downfield
-Fairly explosive athlete in terms of leaping ability (35” vert) to go above the rim in jump ball situations
-Possesses great size and length to be a menace on the boundary for smaller corners
-Has big, strong hands and long arms combined with his size and leaping ability to win his fair share of combative catches
-Size and length make him a good target over the middle to pick up the tough yardage and move the chains
-Has shown good usage in the screen game and the ability to create after the catch for a bigger receiver
-Foot speed isn’t terrible and creates enough separation on intermediate routes to win against longer, less twitchy corners
-Willing and capable blocker in the run game
-Has experience playing as a gunner on special teams units running down punts and kicks
-Isn’t very twitchy in terms of quick changes of direction when coming out of his routes
-Doesn’t have elite speed of burst off of the line to create ample separation when working vertically up the sideline
-Benefitted from a lot of “schemed up” receptions with rub routes and natural picks to get him open in space
-Dealt with a case of the drops, more stemming to his focus being off the ball rather than a hands issue
-Never was the primary option in the passing game despite the pedigree and measurables
-Has had maturity issues in the past, bringing to question how he holds up with money in the league
-Senior prospect from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
-A consensus five-star prospect coming out of powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High School
-Senior season in high school ended early due to a knee injury
-Also ran track in high school, state of Florida 300-meter hurdles champion as a freshman and sophomore, and was 110-meter hurdles runner-up as a freshman
-Started playing career at Ohio State before transferring to the Gators after his freshman season, only recording three receptions for 20 yards while in Columbus
-Played in 13 games as a sophomore with one start, totaling 26 catches, 364 receiving yards, and two touchdowns
-Appeared in all 13 games and made 11 starts as a junior and had 33 receptions on the season for 491 yards and three touchdowns
-Started all 11 games his senior season before opting out of the Cotton Bowl to declare for the NFL Draft
-Closed out the 2020 season with 38 receptions for 589 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns
-SEC Academic Honor Role in 2018
Trevon Grimes is a fun evaluation for me on a bunch of different levels. First, he has the prototypical build you love to see in receivers that primarily play on the outside and possibly in the slot with the long frame and athletic traits to win against smaller defensive backs. Second, I personally worked with Grimes during my time with the University of Florida Football Strength and Conditioning Program back in the summer of 2018, the year where Grimes transferred from Ohio State to be closer to family during a difficult time in their lives, so I had the opportunity to work up-close and personal with him every day with him in my training group. Initially, I wasn’t a big fan of Grimes, as his attitude rubbed me the wrong way in terms of being a diva that let his emotions get the better of him. However, getting to know the person and the struggles he had been through in his life, and the influence Head Coach Dan Mullen, Head Strength Coach Nick Savage, and the rest of the coaching staff has had on him, I have seen a maturation process in his life since then, and am excited to see his transition to the pro level.
When evaluating Grimes from a player perspective, it’s not hard to guess what his calling card is as a receiver. Standing 6’4, 220lb, he is a physical presence that can be a challenge for any defender to cover one-on-one. His height, weight, and leaping ability give him the opportunity to go up and get balls at the high point and come down with them in contested coverage. A great example of this comes from the Georgia game this year where he runs the fade up the sideline and highpoints the ball over #3 Tyson Campbell, who is considered one of the top CB prospects in the draft, and hauls in the impressive TD grab.
He is a true mismatch on the end zone fade and has pretty good body control along the sideline, knowing to get his feet down in bounds as he does here in Senior Bowl practice.
Even the bigger, more physical corners can struggle to contain Grimes on these combative catch opportunities. In the SEC Championship Game against Alabama, Grimes gets the sideline fade against possibly the best corner in the draft, #2 Patrick Surtain, and hits him with the stutter-and-go to get a step on him, reels in the ball coming over his head, and continues to run after making the catch, pulling away from Surtain for the long TD strike.
Grimes’s size is also beneficial when working over the middle. He is able to shield off defenders with his body and make tough catches while taking on contact. Here’s an example in a great performance vs Arkansas where Grimes finds a soft spot in the middle of the field and hauls in the grab while taking a shot from the defensive back as the ball arrives.
Being a bigger receiver, Grimes has the physicality to create after the catch with his size and strength. He may appear thin, but trust when I say that he is weight room strong and it shows up on the football field. Here he gets away from the defender along the sideline and makes the catch, proceeding to run his legs forward after the defender, picking up another ten yards even with multiple defenders rallying to take him to the ground.
This physicality is also aided by his adequate speed as a receiver, which is why the offense set up screen plays for him to give him the ball quick with room to run and pick up extra yardage. Here he gets the ball and has blockers up front, getting a head of steam as he accelerates to the end zone and runs through contact for the score.
While Grimes may not have elite deep speed, he is a long strider with the catch radius to be a viable deep threat to stretch defenses. He can get behind you if you are not too careful and has shown multiple times that he can bring in the deep ball. Here against LSU, Grimes lines up in the slot and gets a step on the nickel defender, running past him and the safety coming over to haul in the deep bomb on 2nd and long for the huge gain.
While being a bigger receiver, Grimes’s footwork isn’t that bad. Sure, he’s not the most fluid in his breaks, especially when asked to make quick comebacks to the football as highlighted below where he slips up a bit.
However, he does well at getting off of press and can shake bigger defenders with his inside or outside release. Take for example this rep against #8 Trill Williams where Grimes hits him with the hard-outside jab step to get him to bite, then quickly goes inside over the middle, leaving Williams on the ground. This is just one example where Grimes abused Williams during these practice sessions.
One big knock on Grimes I came away with was that he has a lot of focus drops on his tape. I wouldn’t say his hands are bad due to all the contested catches he brings in, but rather he’ll take his focus off of the ball and not secure the catch with the defender nearby. Here are examples at the Senior Bowl and against Ole Miss where Grimes is in great position and has the ball in-hand, but drops the football with a defender coming in.
Overall, I came away fairly impressed with Grimes’s film. Sure, he was never the primary option in the passing game at Florida, but when you have the likes of Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney on the team as well, there should be an exception. He isn’t the most refined route runner and the drops can scare some teams away, but Grimes seems to be just scratching the surface of his potential as a physical receiver with a lot of room to grow. Grimes would be best utilized as a Z-receiver who challenges defensive backs vertically and is a good red zone presence with the traits he has. His size and combative catch ability also make him a viable open to be a possession chain mover on key third downs. With time, he could expand his role to potentially being a big slot as well, while also immediately providing value on special teams and contributing in the run game as a blocker. I would say Grimes compares favorably to Tim Patrick of the broncos as a long, possession style receiver that can challenge vertically and win contested catches as a red zone target.
Grimes has said that the Steelers have visited with him a few times and that he looks to Chase Claypool as inspiration for him in the league. Should Pittsburgh continue the long tradition of drafting mid-round WRs and develop them into viable contributors, I can definitely see Grimes as the type of receiver they could target on Day Three of the draft to potentially replace James Washington, play special teams from the get-go, and develop to become a weapon in their passing attack.
Projection: Early-to-Mid-Day Three
Games Watched: at Ole Miss (2020), vs Arkansas (2020), vs Georgia (2020), vs Alabama (2020), Senior Bowl (2020)