2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Richie Grant

  • Richie Grant, 6-0/200

  • Safety

  • Central Florida

  • Richie Grant Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Instincts
  • Tremendous ball skills
  • Dangerous threat to pick off passes in the middle of the field
  • Soft hands
  • Ball awareness
  • Skilled at forcing fumbles
  • Good in zone coverage
  • Reads routes and quarterbacks to stay around the ball
  • Anticipation
  • Willing tackler
  • Hard hitter
  • Will make receivers pay in the middle of the field
  • Plays downhill
  • Good height, length
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Has some issues in coverage
  • Man-coverage limitations
  • Not a great fit as the deep free safety
  • A little tight

  • Summary: Over the past three seasons, Grant was one of the steadiest and most productive safeties in college football. He broke out as a sophomore with six interceptions, 108 tackles, two forced fumbles and three passes broken up. Grant was then consistent with that tremendous caliber of play as a junior and a senior. He totaled 78 tackles, an interception, forced fumble and eight passes broken up in 2019, and then despite his shortened senior year, he still produced 72 tackles, three interceptions, five passes broken up and two forced fumbles. Grant then had an excellent week of practice at the Senior Bowl, and multiple team sources raved about what he did in Mobile.

    Grant has some limitations in pass coverage, but he makes up for it with a lot of big plays. While Grant is not a man-coverage safety who can line up against slot receivers or be a deep free safety, he finds ways to factor in coverage. Grant is a good zone-coverage safety in the middle of the field who does a fantastic job of reading a quarterback’s eyes to get in position to create turnovers. Grant’s excellent instincts make him seem a step ahead, and he does a fabulous job of impacting the ball. He shows advance recognition for routes and offenses going to repeat some of the same routes.

    There is no doubt that Grant has good ball skills and is dangerous to snatch the pass away. He plays the ball well and possesses rare ball skills for a strong safety. On top of his ability to pick off passes, Grant is a threat to force fumbles via his hard-hitting ability and his instincts.

    Grant is a hard hitter who will really get physical and stick receivers with some violence. In the middle of the field, Grant will make receivers pay, and he has a real physical presence. That leads to him being a good run defender. Grant will come downhill and make tackles on backs with definite ability to be the eighth man in the box. He is a reliable tackler who shows a nice technique to get low and wrap up, plus has the strength and physicality apply some real force.

    Grant’s best fit in the NFL would be as a strong safety who can serve as a good zone defender in the middle of the field and can big plays with his instincts. He could contribute some man-coverage ability on tight ends, but he probably should not go man-to-man on elite receiving tight ends. Grant will be able to serve well as a strong safety in run defense and could be a dangerous pass-coverage safety in the middle of the field.

    In the 2021 NFL Draft, Grant could be a second-day pick, and he probably won’t get out of the third round.

    Player Comparison: Landon Collins. Grant reminds me of Collins in that both are strong safeties who will hit, defend the run, are effective in zone, and have ball skills and some limitations in man coverage. Collins got a boost playing at Alabama to have him go high in the second round of 2015. I think Grant gets overlooked some playing at Central Florida, but in the NFL, I could see Grant being a safety that is a similar style player to Collins.


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