Richie Grant Draft Profile
One of the late risers in this year’s draft is Central Florida free safety, Richie Grant. There is no “top dog” at the safety position in this year’s draft, so it’s really just a matter of preference. With just a few days left until the NFL draft, there’s a chance that what I’m hearing is smoke, but Grant could be a contender for the end of day one. Realistically, I don’t see Grant going until the middle of day two, but that’s just to put into perspective how much his draft stock has risen.
When scouting free safeties, the first two things I look for is their eyes and range. Can a player cover ground sideline to sideline, while staying discipline with his zone and what he sees. Everything Grant does is so smooth and fast. He doesn’t hurry his drop, but you can see his pure speed. In zone coverage, Grant is at his best. If it’s cover one or cover three, Grant flourishes when he can stay in that deep middle zone and read the quarterback’s eyes. When in coverage, Grant is able to eye the quarterback and stay on his receiver. This allows him to drive on the football and get either pass breakups, immediate tackles, or interceptions. Against Cincinnati, Grant showed that he was able to talk some shit to quarterback Desmond Ridder. I want my free safety to have that dog in him, and I love his passion. After the quarterback has thrown his pass, Grant does a phenomenal job at playing the football. While I am a big fan of Grant’s game, the first round is too early for him.
Grant is a low tackler, which isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes he gets too low and ends up with his face in the dirt. This may be a result of not wrapping up or bad tackling form, but it can be fixed. Coaches are going to want to see Grant put on some muscle so he can play in the box if need be. When tackling, there were also times where he was moving too fast and over pursued the runner. A lot of Grant’s flaws are technical and I think they can be coached out of him.
When watching Richie Grant play, I couldn’t help but think this is exactly what the Philadelphia Eagles need. He wears number 27, similar to Malcolm Jenkins and I think he could be the replacement that the Eagles were missing last year. From a play style standpoint, he reminds me of Nasir Adderley who came out of Delaware a few years ago. I could also see Grant ending up in the AFC South with the Colts or the Jaguars. I have a mid to late second round grade on Grant, and I’m confident that he will get drafted sometime on day two.
Eyes + Instincts 8.5/10
Ball Skills 6.25/8
Man Coverage 3.75/6
Zone Coverage 4.75/6
Final Rating: 78
Pro Comparison: Nasir Adderley
Team Fits: Eagles, Jaguars, Colts
Draft Ranking: Mid - Late Second Round Pick
Draft Projection: Late Second Round - Early Third Round Pick