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Jevon Holland

Where Does Jevon Holland Rank Among NFL’s Best Safeties?

  • Justin Melo
  • September 30, 2022
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The 3-1 Miami Dolphins are loaded with high-end playmakers on both sides of the ball. Budding superstar safety Jevon Holland is a crucial piece of what the Dolphins set out to achieve defensively. Holland’s early-season form continues to see him swiftly establish himself as a top-five safety across the entire league.

Through four contests, Holland has totaled 21 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and three pass breakups. Holland has recorded Miami’s lone interception this season and he’s also forced a fumble. Holland was all over the field against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, having covered 868 yards from scrimmage between whistles through the first three quarters, via Next Gen Stats. The always excellent Brian Baldinger highlighted Holland’s performance on Friday morning.

In Thursday’s loss to the Bengals, Holland had five tackles, one run stuff, and allowed zero catches on 33 coverage snaps, via Next Gen Stats. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow only tested Holland on one occasion in coverage. The Bengals were wise to avoid Holland at all costs.

It’s already been an appropriate follow-up to an excellent rookie campaign that saw Holland record 10 passes defensed, which were tied for fourth-most among safeties. Holland wrapped up his debut season by earning an elite coverage grade of 87.7 and an overall grade of 84.7 from Pro Football Focus. Holland continues to showcase excellent football intelligence. The Dolphins are confident enough in Holland to utilize him in every and any role.

Holland has aligned as a deep safety on 82.8% of snaps this season, via Next Gen Stats. The Dolphins trust Holland to eliminate the middle of the field as their deep defender in single-high, Cover 1 looks. That’s prime real estate in today’s pass-happy league. Opposing quarterbacks are becoming increasingly aware of Holland’s lurking presence.

Holland impacts the game in a variety of ways. Holland’s 14 quarterback pressures and 4.0 sacks since 2021 rank second among all safeties, trailing just his teammate Brandon Jones in both categories (19 pressures, 6.0 sacks). Holland has continued to haunt opposing quarterbacks throughout the first four weeks of the 2022 season. Holland currently has a 16.7% sack rate, per Next Gen Stats, which ties him for first place alongside Jeremy Chinn among all qualifying defensive backs. The Dolphins love blitzing their defensive backs, and Holland is good of a blitzer as any safety in the league.

Holland is much more than that, however. Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer tasks Holland with playing in the box, over a slot receiver, and on the line of scrimmage. That’s in addition to Holland’s aforementioned’s penchant for rushing the passer, which he did on 65 occasions (second-most among safeties) last season. Despite his wide-ranging skill set, Holland is best when playing as a single-high safety with sideline-to-sideline abilities. There’s literally nothing Holland can’t do.

High-end safeties are becoming increasingly important in today’s league. Rostering one has almost become a necessity to combat high-octane offenses. The 22-year-old Holland is a rising superstar and the position’s best young playmaker.

When discussing the best safeties in the league, Derwin James, Kevin Byard, Jamal Adams, and Minkah Fitzpatrick are often among the first names brought up. It’s time to start mentioning Jevon Holland alongside today’s greats. He’s firmly in the conversation.

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Justin Melo