The start of free agency has seen the Dolphins bolster the offense, retain key defensive pieces, and now address the special teams unit. Keion Crossen and the Dolphins agreed to terms on a contract that will bring the former Giants, Texans and Patriots cornerback south to Miami.
1. Setting the Tone on Special Teams
All four years as a pro, Keion Crossen has finished inside the top 64 of the league in special teams tackles. In three of his four seasons, Crossen has ranked in the top 33 of that category, finishing as high as 10th in 2020.
In total, Crossen has 35 career tackles in the third phase of the game. A 2018 seventh-round draft choice of the Patriots (and eventual world champion), Crossen's logged 919 career snaps on special teams.
2. Another Athlete in the Defensive Backs Room
It should come as no surprise that Crossen is often the first man on the scene on kick coverage as he ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in 2018. On that run, Crossen clocked a high speed of 24 miles per hour (calculated from the final 20 yards) to showcase his explosiveness.
Unsurprisingly, he tested off the charts in several other categories. He blazed a sterling three-cone time of 6.67 seconds, leaped 39.5 inches on the vert and 131 inches on the broad jump.
3. Defensive Depth
Crossen has 519 defensive snaps on his NFL resume. Better than 60 percent of those snaps came in 2020 with the Houston Texans. On 179 coverage snaps that year, Crossen broke up five passes and made 46 total tackles. Opposing quarterbacks targeted Crossen 28 times with 16 completions for 225 yards and passer rating of just 83.2. Pro Football Focus credits him with eight run stops on 189 snaps in run defense.
The same quick-trigger and explosive first step he shows on special teams is evident when in pursuit on defense.
4. The Pride of Garysburg, North Carolina
Before becoming an NFL draft pick, Crossen was a four-year starter at Western Carolina. There, he played in 46 games, instantly earning the admiration of the Catamounts coaching staff.
"Some of the leadership aspects, you could just tell from the beginning that he had what we as coaches call the 'it' factor," Western Carolina Head Coach Mark Speir said.
Crossen became just the eighth player from Western Carolina to hear his name called on draft night. He was the first WCU product to get selected in the NFL Draft since 1994.
5. The Preacher
The YouTube clip referenced above, provided by the Western Carolina University channel, details Crossen's passion for football and faith. The latter earned him the nickname, The Preacher.
"When he first got here, he was always known as the minister, the preacher. Everybody called him The Preacher," said Crossen's WCU teammate, Corey Holloway. "Another thing about Keion is he's very giving. He's willing to give his last to somebody who needs it."
For more analysis, and to hear Crossen talking ball and his new South Florida home, subscribe to the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.
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