2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Richie Grantby Mason Thompson February 3, 2021 5 comments
The 2021 safety class is one filled with a wide variety of players. The top of the safety class has primarily belonged to Trevon Moehrig (you can find Moehrig’s Scouting Report here) and Jevon Holland for most of the season. Following the Senior Bowl, Richie Grant has thrown his name into consideration for the top safety in the 2021 class. UCF allowed Grant to play many roles, and it worked out to his advantage as he is now one of the more polished safeties in the class. He could very well be the first safety off the board in April’s draft, depending on how teams view him compared to Holland, Moehrig, and others.
Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.
Name: Richie Grant
Class: Redshirt Senior
Weight: 200 lbs
Coverage Skills (7.25/10)
Grant isn’t the best in man coverage, as evident by his performance against some of the receivers he faced at the Senior Bowl. He is strictly a safety at the next level, whether that be in the box or deep. His best bet in man coverage comes against running backs and tight ends. In zone coverage, he is best fit to read the quarterback’s eyes and go from there.
Ball Skills (9.5/10)
Grant had ten interceptions and 19 pass deflections at UCF. Even though he dropped a few interceptions, he has elite ball skills. Grant is a disturbance at the catch point and makes a break on the ball immediately as it is thrown if it is in his area.
Change of Direction (9/10)
Grant can start and stop on a dime. He has fluid hips that make his transitions easy when a receiver comes into his area.
Grant has elite speed and can turn on a dime. He makes his transitions look easy, and the fluidness he has helps him immensely.
Run Support (8/10)
He isn’t afraid to do dirty work. Grant is always looking to make a play, which could be by tackling. He had a hit against Tulsa that caused a fumble on the running back. Grant can play as a strong safety closer to the line, which helps him in this regard even more. His downfall in this regard is the angles he takes while attempting to make a tackle.
Grant is a willing and able tackler. He has great technique where he gets low and wraps the defender up. Unfortunately, there are times where his speed comes to haunt him. Grant will fly to a defender and his timing to tackle will be off, as well as his angle to make the tackle. There were many occasions of this occurring, and it would lead to some big gains because of his missed tackles.
Grant can play as a center fielder as a free safety playing cover 1 at the next level. He has great speed and can fly across the field and make a play in an instant. Grant can cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield, thanks to his speed.
Grant played at free safety, strong safety, as well as slot cornerback during his time at Central Florida. He can play in coverage. Grant was primarily tasked with being a blitzer on the edge when he played in the box. As pointed out earlier, he tackles well and is always looking to make a play.
Football IQ (5.25/10)
You could use a variety of words here. Inconsistent. Lackluster. Questionable. Any of them would work. These miscues were primarily when Grant was playing strong safety at UCF, though there were also times when he was playing free safety. There were plenty of times when he would drop out of his zone and allowed a ton of space for a receiver. Grant was allowed to free-lance at some points in the game and decide on his own. That could be making a blitz when he was supposed to be covering a tight end or running back, it seemed. He bit on multiple false reads in 2020. Because of this, he may seem better suited to play as a free safety at the next level so that he can see the full field.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
The game between UCF and Cincinnati was one of the best college games all year. Grant and Desmond Ridder seemed to be playing a one-on-one game. The two players were the best in the game. Grant is always around the ball, whether it be, making a tackle, an interception, or a pass breakup. He can change the game in a blink of an eye. There were many times where Grant would chase down a ball-carrier. That would even mean making a tackle on the complete opposite side of the field.
Grant’s injury history appears to be clean.
Grant is one of the best safeties in the class. He is a versatile chess piece that can line up all over the defense but may be best fit as a deep safety, where he can read and react. Playing at strong safety isn’t out of the realm of possibilities either. He is a superb athlete that wins because of his great ball skills and athleticism. He never quits either. Some areas he could work on are to slow down and clean up his angles in run support and tackling. Slowing down and letting the game come to him would be beneficial to help him clean up some of the miscues he had in 2020 for UCF. Grant was coached by Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers at the Senior Bowl, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Carolina selected him on day two of the draft in April.
Final Grade (84.75/100): Early-Second Round