Rookie safety Jevon Holland may play for the Miami Dolphins, but he is feeling the Miami heat in the first week of training camp. The former Oregon defensive back, who has also lived in British Columbia and the Bay Area, told reporters after practice Friday that he's getting used to the south Florida weather.
"It is so hot out here," Holland said. "That is the biggest surprise, but I honestly do love it. It's getting me in great shape."
Holland was the first safety selected in the 2021 NFL draft when the Dolphins snagged him with the 36th overall pick in the second round. After sitting out his junior season at Oregon to prepare for the NFL, he's loving the grind of being a rookie in the NFL and adapting to the professional level.
"I feel like I'm acclimating pretty quickly," Holland said. "You got to adapt or die. I'd rather adapt than die."
The Dolphins are three practices into their training camp, and Holland could have a big role in the secondary with the departure of Bobby McCain and star cornerback Xavien Howard requesting a trade. It is early in camp, but the former Duck feels like he is getting the hang of the flow of practice.
"I think I'm getting into it," he said. "I've never been a professional athlete before, and so being out here in practice just shows me the caliber of athletes that are out here and the competition and how intense it is.
"It's everything I've ever dreamed of. I'm really loving it."
Holland said that while he is adapting well to the game, the competitive fire in him pushes him to be even better.
"I feel like as a competitor, I need to be my biggest critic and make sure that I'm always on myself and that I'm always taking that next step," Holland said. "It really comes down to the TNTs (takes no talent) — the communication, the effort to the ball, the technique — that is stuff that is taught to us and that we take on ourselves to execute every play."
Holland, who checks all the boxes you'd expect for an NFL defensive back, was selected in the second round because of his versatility and ability to make plays all over the field. His skillset coming out of college is rare and could give him an opportunity to see playing time early in the season.
"I feel like my skillset translates great, but I've really just been trying to do whatever the coaches ask of me," Holland said. "Whether that's deep, short, or anything in between, I'm just trying to give them 100%. Do the little things, and they'll eventually snowball into big things and it'll help the team."
The opportunity to have a significant role in year one as the first safety picked in the draft sounds like a lot of pressure to put on a 21-year-old, but Holland knows what his responsibilities are to help the team win.
"Whatever round you were drafted in — whether you were a free agent or a first-round pick in the draft — you always got to put in the work and come out there and put your best foot forward," Holland said of whether he feels any pressure. "I got people to lean on, especially in the rookie class. We're pretty tight."
Being a rookie who hasn't played a meaningful game in nearly 19 months will be a challenge for Holland. He is ready to improve and learn from the veterans in the locker room.
"I feel like I'm doing alright," he said. "I got a lot to improve on, and I plan on doing that. Things pop up every day that I need to work on, so it's encouraging that I have stuff that I need to work on.
"I'm new here, so they're really giving me the little pieces and just making sure that I'm taking care of my body and making sure that I'm communicating with the coaches," Holland said of the impact the veterans have had on him. "They're making sure that I'm absorbing all the knowledge and shooting it back out in my performance."
Holland was one of four Oregon defensive backs taken in the NFL draft, along with Deommodore Lenoir, Brady Breeze, and Thomas Graham Jr. He was a leader on the field in his short time as a Duck, but he had a specific goal of what he considered a successful rookie season when it's all said and done.
"Finding a role on the team that can help the team, and then being somebody that the coaches can rely on."
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