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Dolphins’ Jevon Holland is PFF’s highest-graded safety after nine weeks

Jevon Holland has emerged as one of the league’s top safeties.

NFL: SEP 24 Broncos at Dolphins Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite enduring a string of injuries in the first half of the 2023 season, the Miami Dolphins’ defense remains impressively resilient. Led by safety Jevon Holland, the unit has only surrendered more than 21 points once since Oct. 1.

Holland, 23, has 44 tackles and three forced fumbles while adjusting to a new role in Vic Fangio’s defense. He’s played 264 snaps at free safety, 163 in the box, and 86 at slot cornerback.

The third-year safety hit the ground running and is the league’s top safety nine weeks into the season, according to PFF. Holland leads all safeties with an overall grade of 90 — bolstered by seven tackles, three forced fumbles, and one pass breakup against the Denver Broncos in Week 3.

Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates III ranks second with a grade of 89.9. Baltimore’s Geno Stone and Tampa Bay’s Antoine Winfield Jr. are tied for third with an 88.9 grade.

Last season, Holland spent 837 of his 1,197 snaps at free safety while playing 173 in the box and 106 in the slot. Fangio’s scheme has Holland lined up at free safety 50 percent of the time, but he’s on track to set career-high snap counts in the box and at slot cornerback.

“Just more understanding of the game as a whole,” Holland said when asked what he’s learned from Fangio. “He’s been in the league for a long time – longer than I’ve been alive. Football is second nature to him, and the more I listen to him speak about his reasoning why, and why we play a certain type of coverage or defense in a certain position on the field, it just makes more sense.

“So my decision making becomes faster. I’m enjoying being a pupil in his dojo. The more time I spend with him, the more I learn.”

With five of Miami’s last eight games at home, there’s a sense that the team is hitting its stride just when it matters most. Expectations are building, especially under the guidance of Fangio, and the success of Holland is elevating the team’s potential even further.