The NFL this season will be following five “fringe’ players hoping to be one of their team’s final 53, in a show called “On The Fringe.” One of the five players will be Cody Grimm a 6-foot-1, 203-pound linebacker, who played collegiately at Virginia Tech. The son of Hall of Famer Russ Grimm, the younger Grimm, was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh-round round of the 2010 draft. Undersized by NFL standards to play linebacker the Bucs feel Grimm is best suited to play safety in the NFL.
Crimm was only offered one scholarship offer, but passed on the free ride and walked on at Virginia Tech. Grimm by all accounts is a gritty player with a ferociously aggressive drive who attributes his play making skills to his nonstop motor.
He cut his trail onto the field via special teams, earned a scholarship, and became a starter at outside linebacker — a starter at 200 pounds, about 20 to 30 pounds lighter than most who play the position.
Grimm not only held his own, he excelled. As a senior, he recorded 94 tackles, four sacks and forced five fumbles.
“I’d say it’s mostly my motor,” Grimm said of his play-making skills. “I’m trying to keep running — running the play down. Someone misses a tackle, and I can make a tackle from behind. I’d say my motor is what helps me out forcing fumbles rather than just thinking about it.”
Grimm might come off as an over-achiever type, but make no mistake about his athletic ability. He routinely ran high 4.4, 4.5-second 40-yard dashes in pre-draft workouts and had very impressive showings in agility drills. The combination of that, his production, his vinegar and brine tenacity, and his history of out-working others is why Tampa Bay drafted him.
The Buccaneers think Grimm has the skill set to play strong safety, and they’ve seen nothing during offseason workouts to make them think otherwise.
“You go look at a lot of people, and you evaluate a lot of guys, then once you get a chance to meet the kid, it really comes out in the guy,” Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris said. “His character, his background … of course you know his family, we all know his family. When you look at his tape and how he plays, how tough he plays and how hard he plays, the things he was able to do at Virginia Tech, the things he was able to do out there in the box …
“He didn’t have the deep-field experience, didn’t have some of the things we look for in a safety. But you’ve seen the transition. You’ve seen the possibility of him doing that. You see the possibility of him coming out here and being a core special teams guy and be able to do some of the things that we’ve covered around here, and that we have covered here in Tampa for a long time.”
Grimm who’s tied for the team lead in interceptions during OTA practices this off-season with veteran corner Aqib Talib has shown the ability that he can play in space as he transitions to safety at the pro level.
He’ll be battling the likes of Corey Lynch, Sabby Piscitelli, Matt O’Hanlon and De’von Hall for the right to back up incumbent Tanard Jackson and free agent signee Sean Jones. With the team expected to keep only four safeties on their active roster. Its a five dog race for presumably two open roster spots. Arguably, it will come down each players prowess on special teams and their ability in coverage, along with their ability to tackle and create turnovers that will ultimately determine their fate.