JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jaguars running back Corey Grant's "Tail Lights" moniker is a term of endearment.
He received the nickname after blazing past opposing players while returning kickoffs at Auburn. He left coverage teams in the dust, forcing them to watch him continue to pick up yardage.
As an undrafted running back with limited college carries, Grant initially seemed like a long shot for a practice squad spot as a rookie.
However, early on in his Jaguars tenure, it was easy to tell there was something special about Grant's speed.
Following an impressive performance during the offseason program, Grant became a name to watch. He followed those workouts with standout kick returns during the preseason.
He initially earned a job on the Jaguars' 2015 53-man roster. Still, Grant played in just six games as a rookie, failing to flash his tail lights in limited action.
Grant struggled to receive consistent opportunities heading into his second season but still made the roster. He appeared in 11 games, but was only asked to return 13 kickoffs last year.
"The first two years, I haven't really gotten a chance to just break out and show [my speed]," Grant said.
Grant finally found a role on the special teams coverage unit, using his speed to stop opposing returners.
After a rash of injuries depleted the Jaguars' running back unit, Grant was given an even bigger role. The 5-foot-11, 204-pound tailback started and handled the bulk of the carries against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17.
He carried the ball 18 times for 122 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also added two receptions for 15 yards.
"It was big for me," Grant said about the performance. "I think I've been labeled a special teams guy, and there's nothing wrong with that, but having that game and starting and getting the yards I did and the production I did, it was a big game to show I can also be a running back."
Even with that opportunity, Grant still isn't satisfied with his output in the NFL. He had a 57-yard rushing touchdown in the game against the Colts, but his impressive speed has only been displayed sparingly.
The 25-year-old believes he can offer more than what he's shown so far. He wants to consistently live up to his nickname.
"Coming up this year, I really think I can contribute to the offense a little bit more," Grant said. "We've got some things going in where I can possibly help out and use my speed. I'm looking forward to it."
The team drafted LSU running back Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick. They also kept veterans Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon.
One would assume playing time behind those three would be sparse. However, Grant offers different skills than his teammates in the offensive backfield.
"With the different skill set, I think that's my thing," Grant said. "Those three guys are downhill guys, power guys. I think I can come in out of the backfield and run different routes or split out or any options of that nature to get me in space."
Grant's ability to move outside could give the Jaguars a little more flash on offense. He isn't a gadget player, but he could be a matchup nightmare if used properly.
Speed is a killer in the NFL. Grant may have enough to make a major difference for the Jaguars this season.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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