Nobody has been advocating more for Richie Grant than me. Back in March, I said that taking Grant with the 35th pick would satisfy both a need and best player available.
Some starting-caliber players will be available on Day 2 of the draft, and Richie Grant could be the best player available with the 35th pick, solving a need as well as sticking to the draft philosophy Fontenot preaches about, BPA.
Grant can play any role in any coverage Dean Pees decides to deploy. He possesses sideline-to-sideline range with explosive acceleration, which allows him to take tight ends and running backs in man coverage, not just cover ground as a single-high or split-zone safety. Grant has incredible ball skills but packs a punch as a run-defender. He’s likely a free safety at the next level, but with that said, he can comfortably work in the slot. He can even play in the box when needed due to his efforts in run defense and physical nature.
Atlanta traded out of the 35th pick and eventually selected Grant with the 40th pick, but I wasn’t the only one high on the versatile safety. Emory Hunt, a draft analyst, recently revealed on The Ross Tucker Podcast that Grant was his top strong safety prospect and even went as far to compare him to Brian Dawkins.
“Richie Grant was my #1 strong safety. The comparison I had for him was Brian Dawkins.”
Falcons fans should LOVE hearing that from @FBallGameplan on today’s COLLEGE DRAFT podcast pic.twitter.com/fNBbFq9xql
— Ross Tucker Podcast (@RossTuckerPod) June 21, 2021
Hunt’s reasoning for the comparison was a lengthy explanation, noting Grant’s ability to play in the slot, his awareness when dropping into coverage, his explosion and aggressiveness upon contact in the alley defending the run, and his ball skills. Though these are lofty expectations to have for Grant as Dawkins is one of the best safeties of all time, Grant is positioned nicely to have a successful career under Dean Pees. His impact might be minimal at first, but once the game slows down for him mentally, the results will become evident.
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