Chris Grier enters his 22nd season with the Miami Dolphins and sixth as the club's general manager.
Chris Grier enters his 22nd season with the Miami Dolphins and sixth as the club's general manager. Grier was appointed general manager on Jan. 4, 2016 after spending the previous nine years as the team's director of college scouting. As of Dec. 31, 2018, he oversees all football operations. Prior to that, Grier oversaw the draft, both college and pro personnel departments and all scouting efforts.
Grier hired Head Coach Brian Flores in February 2019 and, along with Flores, immediately implemented new philosophies to building a championship-caliber team. Utilizing a value-based approach, the Dolphins rebuilt the roster with young players who were tough, disciplined and versatile. Grier also worked to accumulate future draft capital, which resulted in the Dolphins entering the 2020 NFL draft with 14 picks, including three in the first round and two in the second. The Dolphins also have two first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2021.
Miami has quickly made strides in the past two seasons. In 2020, the Dolphins won 10 games for just the second time in the past decade despite having the second-youngest roster in the NFL. The five-game improvement from 2019 was tied for the best in the league that season and tied for the third-best in team history. The Dolphins set a team record by starting 10 different rookies that year, including eight in one game in a Week 15 win vs. New England.
With several offseason additions via free agency and the draft, Grier helped build one of the NFL's best defenses in 2020. Miami led the league in third-down defense (28.8 pct.) and takeaways (29) and finished sixth in scoring (21.1 points allowed per game).
Two of Grier's draft picks – cornerback Xavien Howard (2016, second round) and kicker Jason Sanders (2018, seventh round) earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2020, marking the first time since 2006 (Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor) the Dolphins had two first-team All-Pro honorees in the same season. Defensive tackle Raekwon Davis was named to the PFWA's All-Rookie team after Grier selected him in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.
In 2019, the Dolphins steadily improved despite having the youngest roster in the NFL, winning five of their final nine games. First-round pick Christian Wilkins led all rookie defensive linemen with 56 tackles, the fifth-most by an NFL rookie defensive lineman since 2015.
Grier and his staff also uncovered several undrafted free agents in 2019. Wide receiver Preston Williams was tied for the NFL lead among rookies with 32 receptions at the time he suffered a season-ending injury. Cornerback Nik Needham had 11 passes defensed, the second-most among all rookies that season. Running Back Patrick Laird finished the season with 204 receiving yards, second among NFL rookie running backs.
The 2018 draft saw Grier and his personnel department net several key contributors. Linebacker Jerome Baker was a third-round pick and finished his rookie season tied for 11th among NFL rookies in tackles (76). Baker quickly took on a leadership role and was elected a team captain in 2019, just his second season in the league.
In 2017, the Dolphins finished the season with 10 rookies on the active roster and four more on injured reserve or non-football illness lists. Miami was one of just three teams to play eight rookies on defense and one of just six to have at least four rookies start games on defense. Six undrafted rookie free agents contributed to the team that season. Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux finished his rookie campaign fourth among all NFL defensive linemen with 40 tackles (26 solo), despite being a fifth-round pick.
In his first draft as general manager in 2016, Grier selected Howard in the second round. In five NFL seasons, Howard has earned a first-team All-Pro nod (2020), been selected to the Pro Bowl twice (2018, 2020), led the NFL in interceptions in one season (2020), tied for the NFL lead in interceptions in another (2018) and totaled more interceptions since 2017 than any other NFL player.
The team also drafted running back Kenyan Drake and wide receiver Jakeem Grant in 2016, who became just the second rookie duo in team history to combine for a kickoff return and punt return for a touchdown in the same season. In 2020, Grant earned second-team All-Pro honors as a returner.
Grier helped turn more than half the roster over in 2016, as the team entered training camp with more than 45 new players acquired during the offseason. The results were a four-game improvement from the previous season, the fifth-best mark in the NFL. The Dolphins finished 10-6 with a playoff berth, the team's best record and first playoff appearance since 2008.
As the team's director of college scouting (2007-15), Grier was part of a front office that discovered numerous Pro Bowl players. During that time, the Dolphins drafted seven players that combined for 14 Pro Bowl selections with the team. The list includes tackle Jake Long (2008-10), defensive tackle Paul Soliai (2011), punter Brandon Fields (2013), center Mike Pouncey (2013-15), safety Reshad Jones (2015; 2017), wide receiver Jarvis Landry (2015-17) and running back Jay Ajayi (2016).
Grier also did a good job of finding value late in drafts. Jones was a fifth-round pick in 2010 and was named the team's co-MVP following the 2015 season after he became the first player in team history to record at least 100 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks in a season. Ajayi was also a fifth-round pick (2015) and became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 200 yards in three games during the same season. Ajayi's 1,272 rushing yards in 2016 were third-most in Dolphins history.
Prior to being the team's director of college scouting, Grier served as an area scout with the club from 2000-02, before being promoted to national scout/assistant director of college scouting in 2003. Miami won the AFC East during his first season with the team.
Grier started with the New England Patriots as an intern in 1994. He joined the club on a full-time basis the following year, and served as a regional scout until joining the Dolphins in 2000. In 1996, Grier was part of a New England staff that won the AFC Championship. He helped scout several players for a Patriots roster that went on to win Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX.
Grier has worked with several of football's most successful coaches and executives throughout his career and that has helped shape his football philosophy. His father, Bobby Grier, is the former vice president of player personnel for the Patriots and recently retired as a senior personnel advisor with the Houston Texans. Chris has also worked with and learned under Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban.
Grier attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he majored in journalism and played football for two years before injuries ended his career. He spent his final two years there as an undergraduate assistant.
Chris' brother, Michael, played for the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and has also served as an assistant coach.
A native of Holliston, Mass., Grier and his wife, Paige, have two sons, Landon and Jackson.