Atlanta needs safety help. They patched over the position for 2021 with the free agent additions of Duron Harmon and Erik Harris, but there is a clear need for a long-term starter. Enter Richie Grant, the former UCF Knight, who the Falcons just took at pick No. 40.
Our own Eric Robinson is a big Grant fan, as his writeup of the gifted young safety will attest. Here’s what he wrote back in March:
His frame is ideal for today’s NFL. Grant shows excellent range and can track the football with ease. His mental processing when diagnosing passing plays is polished and of course, Grant’s ball skills are very sound. In defending the run, Grant is assertive and will commit to making the necessary tackle. Grant does not mind coming downhill when assigned and take down ball carriers. At Senior Bowl practices, Grant was a consistent playmaker and was arguably the best defender on the field.
Grant’s athleticism and versatility feels like a terrific pick for a Dean Pees defense. Because he’s so well-rounded and most of his issues, per Eric, stem from bad angles and split second hesitations, he ought to be an immediate contributor who can get to stardom with hard work and good coaching. He’ll step into the starting lineup immediately, and Pees will love having him. Per Grant, he’ll likely play primarily free safety.
Grant said he believes he'll primarily play free safety for the Falcons.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) May 1, 2021
This crosses off a major need with a player the Falcons clearly hold in high regard, so while he may not have been the #1 safety on consensus draft boards, hopefully he’ll prove to be the best safety in this class. Seeing Atlanta add a potential impact defender is a welcome move.
Round 1, Pick 4: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Round 2, Pick 40: S Richie Grant, UCF
Round 3, Pick 68
Round 4, Pick 108
Round 4, Pick 114
Round 5, Pick 148
Round 5, Pick 182
Round 5, Pick 183
Round 6, Pick 187