The 5-6, 161-pound wide receiver from Texas Tech, was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft. But not many people expected Grant to be drafted. He wasn’t invited to the combine in Indianapolis, instead he had to showcase his skills at Texas Tech’s pro day, where he ran a blazing 4.37 forty. He always believed he could chase his dream.
He didn’t just defy odds on the football field, Grant overcame even more off. Growing up in Dallas, Texas, Grant was shot at as a child. As he got older, trouble continued to follow. In 2014, Grant was stabbed at a night club in Lubbock. The guy known as Mighty Mouse continued to persevere.
Before he was drafted by the Dolphins, Grant worked hard to prepare for the draft. “Undrafted” follows six participants as they chase their dreams of becoming an NFL player. With a remarkable back story, and an interesting personality, Grant was the perfect player to showcase.
I had a chance to speak with “Undrafted” Executive Producer Jon Weinbach regarding Jakeem Grant, and his NFL Network show.
What stood out to you about Jakeem Grant?
”What really stands out about Jakeem, is that he’s the first guy in the show’s history who has been drafted. We didn’t think he would get drafted, which is why we asked him to be on the show. Part of the idea with the third season, was let’s broaden the scope of things.
On why they chose Jakeem Grant to be on the show.
“For one, his personality and for two, he had a real track record of greatness. He broke the career receiving record at Texas Tech. He didn’t fit because of his height, a built in drama, a guy who’s done everything right but was held back by this physical limitations. Three kids, two twins, a baby. We like those kinds of stories, it’s not only about football or personality.”
Why you should watch “Undrafted”
Weinbach said, “I’d really encourage fans to watch it for football. Watch it with your wife and kids. The stories are universal and that’s what makes it a fun, satisfying show to do.” He added, “This isn’t a typical news and highlight show. I’d like to think we elevate the storytelling.
When asked what might be different on the show than year’s prior.
“I think this is the best crop of players, that maybe you heard of or have a realistic shot at making it. You see the moments that most fans just don’t get access to. Preparing for the combine, on the cusp of making it, every single moment is a test and the stakes couldn’t be higher.”
I asked Jon what his favorite part is about being an executive producer on “Undrafted”?
“My favorite part, well yeah I mean it’s sort of our baby. I have a great group of partners, husband and wife, Michael Gleaton Silvia Soto, we birthed this baby three years ago. It is very gratifying. I feel privileged, I get to do what I love to do, produce content in sports. This show is just so simple, you’re following guys ideally in pro football or elsewhere, it’s not something that takes a lot of knowledge, it’s relatable and everyone loves an underdog story. It’s not about how high they can jump, it’s about how hard they will work to ultimately reach their goal.”
Do you see Jakeem Grant excelling at the next level, as more than just a dangerous return man?
“It’s like anything, this goes across sports and industries. An unscientific mix of timing, opportunity, luck, abd hard work. Look at all the guys who succeeded in New England, who in any other situation, wouldn’t excel other places.”
“If Jakeem Grant is in a system that takes advantage of his size, and a system that takes advantage of his speed, who’s to say he can’t. He needs to have the right coach and he has to perform. It’s not rocket science, the guys that don’t fit a mold too small or slow, big or fast, when given the opportunity you have to take advantage of it.”
“If there’s an injury he needs to take advantage of that. Right opportunity, right quarterback, right situation.”
What is your most memorable moment of Jakeem Grant?
“His sense of humor and outright, total determination and confidence. Maybe it was a the show, but his outward charisma and determination, no matter what anyone said, he was going to get to the league. “Whether he was drafted or not he was going to play on Sunday. A lot of guys walk and talk, but you got the sense that Grant really believed it. It makes you want to root for him. He’s not arrogant, or a jerk, I can do this and no one can tell me because I’m 5’6 I can play in the NFL.”
Do you think Mighty Mouse is a fitting nickname for Grant?
“We nicknamed him Kevin Hart, Mighty Mouse is great. He plays bigger than his body. Big personality. He just isn’t going to take no for an answer. Yes, Mighty Mouse is good.”
What are your thoughts on the 2016 Dolphins and Adam Gase?
Dolphins looked good coming back against the patriots, it has to show something. They were down that big and once Garoppolo went down, they battled back. Look at the other games that went down, Jacksonville losing to Chargers, and Buccaneers vs Cardinals, they just kinda laid down on the road. And the Dolphins didn’t. That has to count for something.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“Check it out and tell all your friends”, Weinbach said.