If you haven’t read any of my articles on Richie Grant, you might not know how fascinated I am with him as a player. I watched a few games of his tape; his best was against Cincinnati, and I immediately knew he’d be a future star in the league. Back in March, I wrote a piece titled, Falcons: Taking Richie Grant with the 35th pick could satisfy both a need and best player available. Terry Fontenot ended up trading back in the second round but still selected Grant with the 40th pick in the draft; here are few words from that article:
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.
There are limitations to his game, such as his age and weight. A hair under 200-pounds and 24-years-old, Grant is easily handled by blockers and might not have the same longevity as younger prospects. These are normal concerns, but nothing ground-breaking that can’t be overlooked. His playstyle is aggressive, so he occasionally misses tackles as well as bites on play-action, but he’s a clean prospect with a ton of upside — a future “do-it-all” safety that Pees can move around like a chess piece.
Given the Falcons personnel at safety — Duron Harmon and Erik Harris — and Dean Pees’ tendency to deploy nickel packages, Grant should see the field immediately. In fact, I believe it is certainly possible he takes home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. According to betting sites, Grant is set at +4500 odds to win the prestigious award, second among his position group, behind Trevon Moehrig.
History shows that Grant is a longshot. 13 of the last 14 DROY awards went to first-round picks (Darius Leonard won as a second-round pick in 2018). 12 of the last 14 winners were selected in the top 15 of their draft — Marcus Peters went 18th overall, Leonard was 36th. Still, Grant’s playmaking will garner attention eventually, but for him, it is all about adjusting to the speed of Sundays. Once he becomes comfortable in the scheme, he’ll start to light the league up.
1 thought on “Falcons second-round pick Richie Grant could be dark horse for 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year”
Pingback: Falcons second-round pick Richie Grant could be dark horse for 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year - TheAtlantaStar
You must log in to post a comment.