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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: S Richie Grant

  • The Draft Network
  • December 30, 2020
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UCF safety Richie Grant enjoyed a productive college career that featured exciting ball production. The Knights played Grant in a variety of roles including as a deep single-high safety, split zones, man coverage from the slot, and occasionally as a box safety. His best role at the next level comes as a free safety, but he is fairly interchangeable. Grant brings good size and athleticism to the table and doesn’t have physical limitations. The best components of Grant’s game are his ball skills and versatility. He’s an urgent football player that is always around the ball. When it comes to areas for Grant to develop, cleaning up some processing miscues, developing consistency with angles, and playing with better control as a tackler are at the top of the list. Grant has the makeup of a starting free safety in the NFL with the ability to make game-changing plays on the ball, there just may be a few missed tackles and blown assignments in coverage along the way. 

Ideal Role: Interchangeable but primarily at free safety.

Scheme Fit: Cover One.


Written by Joe Marino 

Games watched: Stanford (2019), Houston (2019), Cincinnati (2019), Memphis (2020), Cincinnati (2020), Tulsa (2020) 

Best Game Studied: Tulsa (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Cincinnati (2020)

Football IQ: Grant’s processing ability reveals a mixed bag of results. He’s guilty of committing hard at false keys and vacating space he is responsible for. There are some moments where his wires get crossed when tasked with staying leveraged over top of routes. He’s at his best when he can cue the backfield and drive on the football as a free safety. He generally processes the run well and triggers quickly. 

Tackling: Grant is a physical tackler that often has good technique in terms of aiming low, wrapping up, and bringing his feet through. When Grant whiffs, it’s never because he is passive but more because he doesn’t arrive at the football with enough control or his angle was too flat so he couldn’t get squared up. 

Versatility: UCF played Grant in a variety of ways including split zones, single high, man coverage from the slot, and a low safety. While the results were inconsistent, UCF had him blitz fairly regularly. He’s an interchangeable safety that has upside in a variety of roles. 

Range: Grant has terrific range and he’s more than capable of serving as a true centerfielder and breaking to the sideline from the hash to make a play on the football. He has the speed to close from distance and he pursues the football with terrific effort. He has the long speed to carry tight ends down the field on vertical routes in man coverage. 

Ball Skills: Although he’s dropped a few interceptions, Grant’s ball skills are an obvious strength of his game. He breaks on the football with proper technique and is disruptive at the catch point both from the trail and breaking forward. On 125 targets against his coverage for his career, Grant has 10 interceptions and 19 pass breakups, which tells the story when it comes to Grant’s ability to make plays on the football when challenged. 

Run Defending: Grant is an enthusiastic run defender that triggers quickly and always finds himself around the football. He is physical when playing off contact and as a tackler. While he’s best from deeper alignments, he has some appeal to situationally play closer to the line of scrimmage. 

Functional Athleticism: Grant is a springy and rangy athlete with good speed and quickness. He has the ability to turn and run in man coverage and he’s explosive triggering downhill. His blend of size and athleticism creates an exciting physical package for the position. 

Competitive Toughness: You won’t find passive reps when watching Grant’s film. He’s always enthusiastic and his competitive spirit shines when he gets a chance to make a big hit or make a play in coverage. If anything, Grant’s style of play leads to some moments where he doesn’t play under enough control in pursuit and has some aggressive mistakes in coverage.  

Flexibility: Grant appears to be a loose and springy athlete. He has the foot speed and fluidity to pattern-match from the slot and quickly drive on the football. His ability to transition and change directions appears to be clean and absent of segmentation.  

Special Teams Ability: Grant’s size, athleticism, physicality, and urgency translates to contributing on special teams in the NFL. He has experience in multiple phases of special teams in college, logging an average of 133 special teams snaps per season. Grant does not offer any experience as a kick or punt returner. 

Prospect Comparison: Jordan Whitehead (2018 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) 


TDN Consensus: 80.25/100

Joe Marino: 81.50/100

Kyle Crabbs: 79.50/100

Jordan Reid: 81.00/100

Drae Harris: 79.00/100

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