With cap space in their pockets, the Falcons are finally getting their rookie class signed. After they announced the signing of Richie Grant this morning, Kyle Pitts is the only unsigned player remaining.
Grant is a player worth getting excited about, as we’ve written before. This team is in need of playmakers on defense, and with his strong ball skills and a well-rounded game, he’ll be a significant piece of the puzzle for Dean Pees and company on defense. The Falcons will likely use Grant, Erik Harris and Duron Harmon a lot this year, but if Grant is as polished as I think he’ll be this summer, there’s a non-zero chance he’ll emerge as the team’s best safety pretty much immediately. Regardless, he’ll at least be a starter in terms of the size of his role starting in Week 1.
As Eric Robinson wrote before the Falcons drafted Grant:
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.
Grant’s potential is evident, as he has the skill to become one of the team’s better defenders sooner rather than later. He’s not the fastest safety and Eric has noted that he’ll need to clean up a habit of taking less-than-ideal angles at times, but he’s a nice fit for what Pees looks for in his safety group and has a clear path to a role even if he has some rookie year struggles. We’ll see if he emerges from the summer with the starting free safety role in hand, as I expect he will.
We’re thrilled he’s now formally under contract, and look forward to seeing what he’ll bring to the Falcons in 2021. Lord knows they could use more intriguing talents on that side of the ball.